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Are Teeth Whitening Products Safe When You Have Gum Disease?

By Dave / May 15, 2007

whiter -toothQuestion: Mirela wrote: I’d like to know if it safe to use teeth brightening products if you suffer from gum disease.

Answer: Thanks Mirela, for asking this question. It is one that I have wondered about too.

First, let’s talk about the effects of tooth whitening on enamel and then we will move to the gum tissue.

I did a little search on the Internet and found a site that says that tooth whitening does not damage enamel. Of course, they were selling a tooth whitening product.

Unfortunately, I have found contrary information from legitimate studies.

You can reference PMID: 17437883 (that is pub med ). In this paper, you can find the description of micro changes that occur to the tooth enamel form carbamide peroxide bleaching agents of both 16 and 10 percent.

Carbamide peroxide is the bleaching agent that comes in most home whitening treatments. Even stronger doses than 10% exist and they can often be found in dental offices for in-office bleaching procedures.

In-office procedures may also use hydrogen peroxide concentrations of up to 38%. Another pub med study (PMID: 17432790) showed a loss of calcium from teeth treated with 38% and 35% hydrogen peroxide (with light) over the control group.

However, they did not find statistically significant calcium loss from the users of 10% carbamide peroxide over the control group.

PMID: 17380806 showed nano and micro changes in the enamel in short term and long term bleaching respectively. The layer of enamel was found to be reduced by the bleaching procedures.

On the other hand, the PMID: 17339072 study showed that there were no problems found in enamel hardness or in any other areas studied in relation to the use of hydrogen peroxide bleaching strips.

So there may be some conflicting reports.

Now as for the gums, I did not find any references on the effects of bleaching agents on gum tissue.

However, and this is just my opinion, if gum tissue is diseased, it is probably weaker than ‘healthy’ gum tissue. Being so weakened it may not be a good idea to expose it to any chemicals that could cause further damage.

I’ve been wrong before, and I could be wrong about this too. Personally, I would prefer to ‘err on the side of caution’ as the saying goes.

Anything strong enough to make your teeth whiter might have a harsh effect on the gum tissue.

Why not work on getting those gums back to a healthy pink condition before considering bleaching?

If, after all, you still want to use a teeth brightening product, here is an online option.

Here is some information on how it might be possible to harden your dental enamel.

Thanks for bringing your question up and giving me an opportunity to answer it.

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*if you have or think you have an oral care health issue, contact your dentist for diagnosis and treatment.

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Dave