Dental Home Bleaching Kits Can Wear Down Tooth Enamel

CB107513If you’ve been to the dentist lately and picked up a tooth whitening kit, make sure you’re aware of the downsides of bleaching your teeth.A recent study shows that many people actually lose some of their tooth enamel after using home teeth-whitening kits for a significant period of time.The chemicals in the tooth whitening products can actually break down the enamel and cause more damage to the teeth.

Deteriorating tooth enamel is an irreversible condition, but the teeth can restore their natural shine and the enamel coating after losing just small amounts of the enamel.Enamel is necessary for keeping the teeth hard and strong; it can be broken down by poor hygiene, too much acid in the diet, or cases of excessive vomiting.

The study conducted to test the teeth whitening kits is one of the first in-depth studies that measures the level of enamel lost from frequent use of these kits. Several studies have been conducted on the effects of tooth whitening and bleaching procedures on tooth enamel, but results have been inconclusive because they do not measure the level of hardness on the nanometer scale.

Dr. Shereen Azer, Assistant Professor of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry at Ohio State University led the study, and says that, “There is some significant reduction in nano-hardness of enamel, but we are talking on a very minute scale. So even though it may not be visible to the human eye, it’s important for research because that’s how we improve products.” (Source:

Today’s most popular tooth bleaching kits are made with hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, or a combination of both. Teeth are naturally slightly yellow in color, because the enamel covering it is protecting a thin layer of dentin underneath, and the dentin is a very light yellow color. Teeth whitening and bleaching kits contain powerful compounds that break down the pigment molecules on the enamel of the teeth, thereby making teeth appear whiter. Researchers of this study are also conducting tests on the effects of teeth whitening strips, tooth whitening gums and other teeth whitening treatments.

Further Reading

  • While the economy is still pulling itself out of a recession, many Americans are holding off on cosmetic work including cosmetic dentistry procedures. Unlike some plastic surgery procedures that have low-cost alternatives, cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers and orthodontics come at a hefty price.

  • For the thousands of Americans  considering plastic or cosmetic surgery in 2010, procedure such as tummy tucks, breast implants and Botox treatments are surprisingly lower on the list than teeth whitening.

  • Dr. Nick Mohindra, a London dentist, has invented a plastic mouthguard called the Oralift that’s designed to help patients look younger by sculpting the facial tissues and increasing the strength of the jawline and facial muscles. The Oralift mouthguard is placed in a microwave to soften the plastic and then fitted to the lower teeth. The mouthguard helps to prevent the grinding of teeth and also helps to stretch the freeway space between the back teeth so that the facial muscles become stronger.