Isn’t a bright white enamel the epitome of a great smile? With the introduction of numerous at-home teeth whitening products on the market, it has become easier and more convenient to get camera-ready white teeth at home. However now there’s a scary new trend on the rise you don’t want to be caught dead in; “Bleachorexia “. Yes, that’s a real term being mumbled around dentist offices across America and is it’s not as funny as when it happened Ross on FRIENDS.
But on a serious note dentists are now on a mission to educate their patients about the risks associated with over whitening. We had a chat about the issue with Dr. Timothy Chase. Dr. Chase is a member of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and has over 15 years experience in his field. He has seen more than his fair share of patients over indulging in teeth whitening. In the interview he talks about the warning signs of over bleaching and safe and effective ways to whiten teeth.
Nidhi Mohan: Tell us a little about ” Bleachorexia ” and did you coin this term?
Dr. Timothy Chase: “I didn’t coin the term, but I always use it to refer to someone who is obsessed with continually whitening their teeth even though everyone, including their dentists feels that they are already white enough, and in some cases even too white.”
NM: What are the health risks of over whitening?
TC: “It is possible to cause tooth sensitivity that is usually reversible, but in extreme cases you can actually damage the tooth’s enamel.”
NM: What good quality teeth whitening brands would you recommend and how often do you recommend using them?
TC: “I recommend Zoom for in office whitening, nightwhite/daywhite for at home kits from your dentist, and whitestrips for an over the counter product.”
NM: What precautions should we take to prevent yellowing / staining of teeth. Are there any foods/ beverages we should be careful consuming?
TC: “I always say this, if you think it would stain your clothing, it would stain your teeth – coffee, soda, red wine, cigarettes. It is especially important to avoid these foods for a while after you whiten.”
NM: What are the ways to safely and effectively whiten teeth.
TC: “There really is no secret to effective whitening, always see your dentist to ensure that your teeth are clean and cavity free, then use a reputable whitening kit or an in-office treatment.”
Three signs of over whitening:
- Sensitive teeth, especially to cold
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Teeth that look blue or see through along the edge
Three health risks that arise from over whitening:
- Damage to the nerves your teeth
- Thinning of your tooth enamel
- Burning of your gums
Three ways to safely and effectively whiten:
- Have your teeth examined and cleaned prior to whitening- to make sure there are no cavities or gum issues and clean teeth get a much better result
- Follow the directions on all teeth whitening products perfectly
- Find quality products by speaking to your dentist about your teeth whitening options