The Whitening Epidemic – Are You Ruining Your Teeth?

Would you like whiter teeth? You’re in good company. Virtually everyone wants a brighter smile and does something to whiten their teeth, from applying whitening strips to using toothpastes, and mouthwashes. Many people even subject themselves to laser whitening treatments that are not only expensive but also frequently extremely painful. Just how huge is the teeth whitening industry? According to recent data, we spend a staggering $11 Billion annually on whitening products and treatments (report). But did you know that in the process of whitening our teeth we’re potentially doing serious harm to our enamel, leading to painful, sensitive teeth and possibly even more decay, cavities, and expensive dental work. It’s not a very pretty picture.

Fortunately, there is a solution to whiten your teeth in 10 days or less (study) – more about that in a bit. But first, let’s explore just how so many of us got sucked into using such potentially damaging whitening products in the first place.

Accessible, over-the-counter teeth whitening products are actually pretty new. In fact, the first toothpaste to claim to “whiten teeth” was Rembrandt back in 1989. In the years since, researchers have discovered that the active ingredients used in many popular teeth whitening products, such as hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, can cause some pretty unpleasant side effects.

Not coincidentally, during the same period that teeth whitening products have grown in popularity, the use of teeth sensitivity products has also exploded. According to a report, in 2015 Sensodyne tooothpaste was second only to Colgate, generating a whopping $143.6 Million in sales. So we’re whitening our teeth more, and our teeth our more sensitive than ever.

Let’s take a closer look at the two most common (and problematic) whitening agents:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizer, bleaching agent, and disinfectant found in most popular whitening toothpastes. While it does whiten teeth, it also oxidizes your tooth enamel (study) and may irritate soft tissues in the mouth (oral mucosa), particularly the gums. Hydrogen peroxide goes into dentinal tubules and cleans out the minerals (study), weakening the tooth, often leading to painful sensitivity.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums. While it is effective at removing stains through abrasion, over time baking soda can significantly weaken your enamel. According to Colgate:

“excessive use of baking soda can have the reverse effect of cleaning, breaking down your enamel over time and causing sensitivity in your teeth.”

So how is it that an entire industry supposedly dedicated to protecting our teeth is selling billions of dollars of products containing ingredients that are now known to physically damage and demineralize tooth enamel? The problem is that most studies involving whitening products are done over short periods of time and do not take into account prolonged exposure. It was only when much longer-term studies were completed that researchers learned just how much damage was being done by whitening products.

So what are you to do if you want whiter teeth without doing lasting damage to your enamel? Fortunately, there is now a solution. A new line of oral care products developed by world-renowned Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Dr. Kourosh Maddahi (a regular on the CBS network show ‘The Doctors’) is now available that can whiten your teeth in 10 days or less! (study)

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