I recently wrote a post about how to have a beautiful, healthy, white smile naturally. I mentioned that there are some dangers associated with teeth whitening products on the market, but I didn’t go into too much detail at that time. However, I felt that it was important for people to understand that many of these products do pose legitimate health risks, and should be used very sparingly, or not at all. So in today’s post, guest writer Kathleen Hubert shares some recent studies and potential risks and side effects associated with using teeth whitening products. She writes:

Nearly everyone wishes to have a dazzling knockout smile. However, obtaining pearly whites can come with a risk. While the decision whether or not to use dental whitening products might not be as monumental a decision as obtaining auto loans, after reviewing recent research I feel that the subject does warrant some serious thought. Surprisingly, there has been a flurry of recent news reports and studies, indicating a risk associated with the use of teeth whitening products. This is not to suggest that a professional teeth cleaning procedure performed by a dental hygienist is risky, but using bleaching or whitening agents sold over-the-counter (OTC) may not be an ideal solution.
What people don’t know could be causing permanent damage.
If it does this to fingers after one use, imagine what it does to teeth after repeated use.
Millions of individuals are spending countless dollars on teeth whitening products commonly sold OTC, unaware of the dangers associated with over usage. According to dental experts, carbamide peroxide, which is a common ingredient found in teeth whitening products, can cause oral issues and damage to teeth and gums.What many individuals do not realize is that by using OTC teeth whitening products, tooth enamel could be wearing down over time, causing irreparable damage. In addition, there have been reports of some individuals suffering from bleeding gums and swollen gums due to the abrasive agents and harsh chemicals found in these teeth whitening products. Unfortunately, most people either do not associate this with use the product, or they care more about having a white smile then they do about the fact that they are experiencing severe inflammation. What people also may not realize is that bleeding, inflamed gums are much more susceptible to infections which can spread throughout the body and turn into serious diseases.

Continual usage of the abrasive agents can also cause structural damage, and in severe cases, brittle teeth. When teeth become weak or brittle from the use of abrasive teeth whitening products, breakage or tooth loss can occur. The risk of this occurring increases with long-term usage and by using too many applications at once.

Another side effect of using abrasive agents is developing an unnatural tint to the teeth. Some individuals have noticed a bluish color, or uneven pigmentation which may be associated with whitening products.

Is having whiter teeth worth risking cancer?

I like my tongue cancer-free, thanks.
Equally alarming to some individuals is a recent Georgetown University studyassociating the use of teeth whitening products with oral cancer. The study had connected the use of hydrogen peroxide with a potential risk of tongue cancer. While there has been no conclusive evidence to support the connection between teeth whitening products and oral cancer, it is reason enough for some to be concerned.Most commonly, teeth whitening agents can cause gum and tooth sensitivity when used regularly. This can mean painful teeth or gums when drinking cold or hot liquids and foods. Typically, the tooth and gum sensitivity will subside after discontinuing the whitening treatment. Those who have concerns about using teeth whitening products at home, or wish to learn the correct methods of whitening teeth safely, should consult with a dentist or oral hygienist.

Personally, I prefer natural and non-chemical teeth whitening practices. I prefer my enamel and the structure of my teeth to be strong, not porous and brittle; and I prefer my gums to not bleed or be swollen. Just FYI about gum bleeding–it is not normal. Many people experience gum bleeding while flossing and think it is just part of flossing. It’s not. It often indicates an underlying problem or infection which can be further aggravated by using OTC teeth whitening products. Thanks to Kathleen for this article!

Kathleen Hubert is a professional blogger who writes about a variety of different topics for many different sites, including www.AutoLoan.org.

Image 2 from Wikipedia.

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