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UV tooth bleaching ineffective and dangerous

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January 30, 2009

January 30, 2009 Tooth bleaching is a popular way of removing stains caused by smoking, red wine and coffee, and in recent times UV light-enhanced bleaching has been promoted heavily. A new report claims the use of UV is not only a con, but is dangerous to your eyes and skin. The Nordic Institute of Dental Materials says the treatment offers no benefit over bleaching without UV, and damages skin and eyes up to four times as much as sunbathing for an entire afternoon. The damning report also found that bleaching damages teeth.

Lead author of the report, Ellen Bruzell from the Nordic Institute of Dental Materials, Haslum, measured the effectiveness of teeth bleaching using seven different commercially available products, with and without using light sources. The claim that light-assisted tooth bleaching is more efficient than ordinary bleaching was not substantiated. Bruzell says that they found a 'lack of additional whitening effect when light is used compared to bleaching without light'.

And as with sunbathing, fair-skinned or light-sensitive people are at even greater risk, said lead author Ellen Bruzell of the Nordic Institute of Dental Materials.

Bruzell also found that bleaching damaged teeth. She saw more exposed grooves on the enamel surface of bleached teeth than on unbleached teeth. These grooves make the teeth more vulnerable to mechanical stress.

Tooth bleaching is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available. It uses a bleaching agent – usually hydrogen peroxide – to remove stains such as those from red wine, tea and coffee, and smoking.

UV light is claimed to further activate the oxidation process, improving bleaching efficiency. The authors of this Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences article say there is very little substantive evidence to support this claim, and their new study finds no benefit to using UV light.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
1 Comment

Does this mean the death of an entire industry and loss of big $'s by all of those places that invested in equipment? I considered this for my spa but in the end decided against it. Now I'm glad I did.

Michael Taylor
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