Avoiding Bleachorexia When Considering Teeth Whitening

At the offices of Scott W. Grant, DMD Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we’re proud to offer high-quality, safety-tested teeth whitening services. We utilize a custom-made tray that patients wear during the day or at night, with products that have been proven not to lead to cavities, gum issues, brittleness or any other such concerns. Unfortunately, not all teeth whitening methods are this reliable. Whitening teeth is a growing trend in recent years, and some people try to take the cheaper route and purchase over-the-counter products here. Not only are these less effective, they may pose several specific risks to the teeth. One such risk, particularly when using products high in bleach, is known as bleachorexia – a real condition that has formed in large part due to over-reliance on these products. Let’s go over the risks associated with bleachorexia and certain teeth whitening products.

Bleachorexia Basics and Rising Occurrences

While the name may sound fake when you first hear it, bleachorexia is a legitimate condition that is characterized by major bleaching of the teeth, leading to several potential damage issues. The term draws part of its name in connection to anorexia, which is also a compulsive condition where a certain behavior cannot be avoided over repetitive periods. People with bleachorexia simply cannot shake the feeling that their teeth are not white enough, and will continue to use bleach and other low-quality whiteners over and over again to obtain the “perfect” smile. Unfortunately, the rates of bleachorexia are only increasing these days, as more and more emphasis in society is placed on perfect appearance, including white teeth.

Carbamide Peroxide

Much of the issue in these cases tends to come back to carbamide peroxide, a common ingredient used in OTC whitening products. Carbamide peroxide is a chemical that strips the teeth of its enamel, leading to major side effects like brittleness, easy breaking and others. Some who use too much of this chemical may also experience chalky exterior areas, plus extreme sensitivity on the teeth – enamel is very important for preventing this sensitivity normally.

Stripped Enamel Effects

Perhaps the largest area of concern with carbamide peroxide and stripping of enamel? Once enamel is completely gone from a given tooth or tooth area, it’s virtually impossible to get it back at the same levels. Teeth are eroded at this point, making them thinner and potentially resulting in translucent spots when the teeth are exposed to light. Those with bleachorexia may think they’re bringing themselves a whiter smile, but they’re often actually worsening their permanent ability to obtain this.

Professional Whitening

For all the reasons above, you should always count on professionals if you’re looking to whiten your teeth. We’ll assess your needs and provide you with safe, tested products that do not risk any of the concerns here in this blog. For more on teeth whitening or any of our family dental services, speak to the staff at the offices of Scott W. Grant, DMD Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today.

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