(Natural News) Americans spend billions on teeth whitening products. Surely, these products do whiten your teeth — but at what cost? A study by researchers at Stockton University revealed that teeth whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide that can damage the layer beneath the tooth’s enamel.
A tooth has three layers: the outer enamel, the underlying dentin, and connective tissue that binds the roots to the gum. In the study, the researchers found that the hydrogen peroxide in teeth whitening strips damages the tissue deep in the tooth – even deeper than the enamel – and makes it weaker. In particular, hydrogen peroxide affects the dentin, the layer that makes up most of the tooth and stops hot or cold food from stimulating the nerves and causing sensitivity and pain. The harsh chemical breaks down a protein within the dentin tissue into tiny fragments enough to make it disappear.
The researchers previously found that collagen in the dentin layer declined when teeth were treated with whitening strips. For their latest study, they further analyzed the effects of hydrogen peroxide on collagen. They used the entire teeth for the studies and focused on the effect of hydrogen on proteins.
When the researchers treated teeth with hydrogen peroxide, the protein in dentin was converted into smaller fragments. As a result, teeth became more sensitive.
In additional trials, the researchers treated pure collagen with hydrogen peroxide. Analyzing it under a microscope, they found that treating collagen with similar concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear. They believe that this occurred due to the formation of many smaller fragments. However, it is not clear what percentage of hydrogen peroxide the tested products contained.
From these experiments, the researchers confirmed that hydrogen peroxide can damage the dentin. However, it remains unclear what this means in terms of permanent damage. Whether collagen and other proteins in the teeth can be regenerated was not part of the study. The researchers presented their findings at the 2019 Experimental Biology, the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Natural ways to whiten teeth
The good news is you can whiten your teeth without destroying them or breaking the bank. Here are safe and natural ways to whiten your teeth:
- Give oil pulling a try – This is a traditional Indian folk remedy for improving oral hygiene and getting rid of toxins from the body. This practice involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes to eliminate bacteria that can turn into plaque and cause teeth to look yellow. One of the best oils to use for oil pulling is coconut oil as it is rich in lauric acid, which is known to fight inflammation and kill bacteria.
- Brush with baking soda – Baking soda has natural whitening properties that can remove surface stains on teeth. It also creates an alkaline environment in the mouth, preventing bacteria from growing. To use, mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water, then brush your teeth with the paste.
- Use apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash – Apple cider vinegar is used as a disinfectant and natural cleaning product. This is because its main active ingredient called acetic acid effectively kills bacteria, making it useful for cleaning your mouth and whitening your teeth. To use, dilute apple cider vinegar with water and swish it around your mouth for several times. Rinse your mouth with plain water afterward. Also, do not overuse vinegar as it can also destroy the enamel on your teeth.
You don’t have to compromise your health to whiten your teeth. Learn more about the harmful chemicals in the products that you use at Products.news.