Whitening teeth could be damaging for eyes, skin

January 30th, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Tom CruiseLondon, Jan 30 (IANS) A dazzling smile can win friends and influence people - but if it has been done with the help of ultraviolet light enhanced bleaching, then beware. It could be damaging for your eyes and skin.Those looking to match Tom Cruise’s glittering pearly-whites would be better off ignoring claims of better bleaching with ultraviolet or UV light treatment, said a recent study.

Tooth bleaching is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available. It uses a bleaching agent - usually hydrogen peroxide - to remove stains such as those from red wine, tea and coffee, and smoking.

UV light is claimed to further activate the oxidation process, improving bleaching efficiency. Study co-author Ellen Bruzell of the Nordic Institute of Dental Materials, Haslum Norway, said there is very little substantive evidence to support this claim.

The treatment is at least as damaging to skin and eyes as sun bathing in a midsummer afternoon - one lamp actually gave four times that level of radiation exposure. Fair-skinned or light-sensitive people are at even greater risk, said Bruzell.

Bruzell also found that bleaching damaged teeth. She saw more exposed grooves on the enamel surface of bleached teeth than on unbleached teeth. These grooves make the teeth more vulnerable to mechanical stress, said a Nordic Institute release.

These findings were published in Photochemical and Photobiological Science, a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

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