Tooth Whitening helps fight tooth decay!

I often eDentist-Takapuna Auckland City Thumnail copyncounter patients who would like to whiten their teeth but are worried that it might damage their enamel. This idea may have stemmed from non-dentists previously offering whitening with un-safe chlorine based materials which are also sold online. Not only is professional tooth whitening completely safe but home whitening in trays made by a dentist has actually been shown to help fight tooth decay and gum disease and to promote tissue healing.

Although tooth whitening has been gaining in popularity relatively recently, the active ingredient used by dentists has been around for a very long time, with reports as far back as 1893 when it was used to help prevent tooth decay in the grooves on children’s teeth. It has also been used since the 60s as throat drops in infants to stop thrush, and in trays to reduce gum inflammation in children with braces, and to promote healing of mouth wounds. The side effect of these treatments was of course that the teeth also got whiter!

Tooth decay is caused by acid (low pH) and along with gum disease by the bacteria which produce this acid. These harmful bacteria typically need to hide from oxygen to survive, and professional whitening produces oxygen around the teeth and gums which kills the harmful bacteria, and also neutralises acid by raising the pH to above the amount that teeth will decay. Modern dental whitening gels now also contain minerals which sooth and desensitise the teeth, as well as replacing lost mineral from the tooth structure. When application of the gel is alternated with other mineral containing gels we can actually stop and reverse early areas of decay which otherwise would have been destined to need filling.

Now home whitening has become an important part of general dental health and disease prevention, and we can use these health benefits to create a preventative programme that improves a patient’s long term dental health throughout different periods of their lives. So who would benefit most from this therapeutic whitening treatment?

Anyone at risk of tooth decay or gum disease, which is most of us, would benefit. But those who are most at risk perhaps have the most to gain. Those people include:
1. Those with special needs or difficulty holding a brush or floss
2. Dry mouth sufferers
3. Elderly patients
4. Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy patients
5. Those with Periodontal disease
6. Patients who are immune-compromised
7. Patients with eating disorders or acid reflux

Dentist provided home whitening at appropriate concentrations has been shown to not only be safe when used over the long term, it can also help to maintain overall dental health. If you would like any information no how a preventative plan may be tailored specifically for you then please get in touch.