Dentists are becoming worried about the abuse of teeth-whitening systems, according to an ABC News report by Courtney Hutchinson. Bleaching teeth frequently can lead to tooth damage, including sensitivity, enamel loss, translucency, erosion and gum damage.
The report notes that US consumers spend more than $1 billion on OTC tooth-bleaching products, according to American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Although some stain-removal options date back to the 1100s, modern tooth bleaching as it is known today did not reportedly surface until the advent of Hollywood and technicolor movies. Following were bleaching toothpastes and more recently at-home bleaching trays and strips.
The raw material responsible for the damage may be the whitening agent carbamide peroxide, which reportedly can irritate and recede gums, make teeth brittle and chalky, and make teeth thin and transparent. Many at-home teeth-whitening products however are formulated with hydrogen peroxide as their whitening active. The report did not note if frequent hydrogen peroxide use can lead to tooth damage.
In addition to eroding teeth, the misuse of tooth bleaching can also remove enamel and make teeth prone to decay. According to the report, some dentists are covering these damaged teeth with crowns or veneers.
Some at-home tooth whitening products claim to whiten and strengthen enamel. For example, Arm & Hammer's Dental Care Whitening Plus Booster with Enamel Strengthening is formulated with hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth and calcium chloride to strengthen enamel.
The report notes that tooth bleaching is safe, when conducted in moderation. The tooth damage arises when teeth are bleached frequently or bleaching efforts are compounded.