British Cosmetic Dentist Discusses Dangerous Trends in Teeth Whitening

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Getting whiter teeth is certainly one of the most popular aesthetic trends today, with Americans purchasing countless boxes of whitening strips and bleaching paste every year, and making thousands of appointments with salons, spas, and dental clinics for professional whitening treatments — bringing the total cost of whitening products and services to about $1.4 billion per year.

It was only a matter of time before people began to go a little crazy with the teeth whitening, and now a new phenomenon is becoming clear: over-using bleaching products to the point where tooth enamel starts to wear down, causing the teeth to turn a yellow-brown color (perhaps worse than whatever original color they were), and eventually starting to decay.

Dr Ken Harris, a cosmetic dentist at the U.K. dental clinic Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry, notes that many spas and salons offer teeth whitening treatments which seem professional and safe, but which may not be approved by the U.K.’s General Dental Council becausethey are not carried out by a qualified dental expert.

Just as dangerous, Dr. Harris states, are the at-home whitening remedies that can be found all over blogs and websites. Patients have gone to great lengths to whiten their teeth without the steep cost of a professional treatment, Dr. Harris explains, and he himself has seen patients try to whiten their teeth with dangerous bleaches, scouring powders, and cleaning products intended for use in kitchens and bathrooms.

Less risky at-home treatments, like lemon juice concoctions and whitening strips found on pharmacy shelves, are certainly much safer — in moderation — but rarely produce substantial results anyway. One popular DIY approach, in particular, uses strawberries as the main “whitening” ingredient, even though strawberries do not whiten teeth in the least.

Perhaps the most surprising part of these findings is simply that people would rather scrub their teeth with toilet bowl bleach rather than see a dental professional; nevertheless, it’s becoming clearer that these dangerous and/or ineffective whitening methods are only the tip of the iceberg.

Like with most medical treatments, it shouldn’t be surprising that splurging for a professional whitening treatment is definitely the way the go, and could actually be the only reasonable option for anyone wishing to keep his/her natural teeth intact.

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