VANCOUVER, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- People hoping for a whiter, brighter smile should be careful while using teeth whitening and bleaching products as they can cause permanent dental damage, a Canadian expert said Wednesday.
Bleaching products can have multiple side effects such as damaging the dental enamel, causing irritation to the gums, tooth sensitivity and more, Adriana Manso, a clinical assistant professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia in Canada's western city of Vancouver, said in a statement.
She said some of these effects are lasting and the damage to the dental enamel is permanent and irreversible, adding that there is also an obvious risk of overuse or abuse when applying over-the-counter bleaching products such as strips, paint-ons or trays.
"It is important to remember that dental bleaching is not recommended for everyone. I would always advise discussing bleaching with your dentist first. There are different reasons why a person's teeth are discolored or darker so the treatment options and results would also differ," Manso said.
According to Manso's research, bleaching products contain hydrogen peroxide that diffuses through the enamel. It breaks down the compounds that are causing the discoloration, and the teeth become lighter.
Bleaching products used by the dentist for in-office therapies can have higher peroxide concentrations of up to 40 percent. The bleaching mechanism is similar but these therapies need to be well supervised and should only be used in the dentist's office. Alternatively, dentists can prescribe supervised at-home bleaching therapies.
Manso suggested that there is a limit to how much people can bleach their teeth and bleaching should not be done every year because the effects on the enamel are cumulative.
For a safe and successful tooth whitening treatment, people should always consult with the dentist to learn about the best options and expectations, she said.