The $1.4 billion that Americans spend each year on tooth whitening products and procedures might be doing more harm than good in some cases.
In fact, bleaching one’s teeth too much — an increasingly common habit as Americans yearn for that perfectly pearly set of teeth — might actually make teeth appear darker, in addition to a number of other less-than-desirable effects.
According to a November 24 Daily Mail article, teeth that have been whitened too much will appear darker because over-whitening makes them more transparent, meaning that the mouth’s dark shadows show through them.
It’s not just the appearance of teeth that is compromised by over-bleaching. The Daily Mail reports that over-bleaching results in brittle, hypersensitive teeth, receding gum lines and even the permanent loss of tooth enamel, the hard, clear protective coating on each tooth.
Once your tooth enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back. Loss of tooth enamel results in a loss of tooth structure — essentially, they turn to “mush,” according to the Daily Mail. And teeth without their natural coating of enamel are much more prone to tooth decay, gum disease and a number of other complications.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take advantage of a tooth whitening procedure or product to help remove stains, yellowing and discoloration from your teeth. When you keep your whitening under control and only whiten your teeth as much as your dentist recommends, you can get brighter teeth that are still healthy and functional.
Today, there is a wide variety of different options for people looking to whiten their teeth. From over-the-counter whitening strips to professional teeth whitening sessions and take-home whitening kits, there is a whitening solution for virtually every lifestyle.
And if you’re still wondering why your teeth aren’t as blindingly-white as the smiles of the stars, don’t worry — most of them use dental veneers to achieve that pristine look.