Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Tooth Bleaching Could Cause Problems

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Tooth Bleaching Could Cause Problems

Article excerpt

People who want to brighten their smiles are opting for over-the-counter bleaching kits instead of visiting the dentist's office. Although generally safe, these products have the potential to cause an infection or nerve damage, say oral surgeons at University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. David McFadden, Associate Professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, suggests that people consult a dentist so that pre-existing conditions can be diagnosed and treated before they start any type of bleaching regimen.

"If a person has deep cavities, the bleach could have an unimpeded route to the blood vessels, nerves, and bone that are found at the root of the tooth," Dr. McFadden said. "It can potentially cause a bad toothache or precipitate an infection."

People with active periodontal disease may also notice soft-tissue shrinkage.

The color of one's teeth is determined by genetics. Dentin, a hard, yellow substance that surrounds the pulp, shows through the enamel, and most teeth thus appear slightly yellowish. Other factors that affect tooth color are aging, tetracycline medications, overfluoridated water, and chromogenic agents found in coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks. …

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