Popular teeth-whitening methods can rob you of your smile

November 5th, 2010 - 7:05 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 5 (IANS) Popular home treatments for teeth whitening, using baking soda, ash and hydrogen peroxide, can strip tooth enamel and cause lasting damage to the gums, dentists say.

The techniques, many posted on the net by persons with no knowledge of dentistry, are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to expensive professional treatment.

Examples of the potentially hazardous advice offered online include brushing teeth with soap, salt, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, or bleach.

But dentists said some of the methods can erode the enamel covering of the teeth, making them appear darker rather than whiter, reports the Telegraph.

Up to 100,000 people undergo some type of teeth whitening treatment each year, ten times more than five years ago.

But many people find the process prohibitively expensive - costing up to 1,300 pounds for laser treatment and 700 pounds for professional bleaching.

Prof Anthony Eder, clinical director of the London Tooth Whitening Centre, said: “There seems to be a growing concern among teens about their teeth, and the internet offers many whitening recipes. Some of these have the potential to damage healthy teeth.”

He said using baking soda repeatedly would strip the teeth of enamel, leaving them browner and more sensitive, while salt would scratch the enamel and any use of acid was especially damaging.

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