Whitening strips may damage teeth

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 11, 2019

Researchers did three studies and found that the active ingredient in the strips, hydrogen peroxide, can damage the tissue beneath your teeth enamel.

Americans spend more than a billion dollars on teeth whitening products each year. And in fact, previous research by Keenan's team found that collagen in the dentin layer was effected when teeth were treated with whitening strips.

The study, led by researchers from the Stockton University in the USA, found that hydrogen peroxide - the active ingredient in whitening strips - can damage the protein-rich dentin tissue found beneath the tooth's protective enamel. Most of the tooth is comprised of the dentin layer, which has high levels of protein, mostly collagen. Next, they plan to further characterize the protein fragments released when collagen is treated with hydrogen peroxide and determine if hydrogen peroxide has the same impact on other proteins in the teeth.

In the new work, the researchers demonstrated that the major protein in the dentin is converted to smaller fragments when treated with hydrogen peroxide.

Over-the-counter teeth-whitening strips may actually be doing more harm than good. They also subjected pure collagen to hydrogen peroxide and examined the protein with lab techniques that gave them a clearer picture of what was happening.

The findings were presented during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting held in Orlando, Florida.

Because the research is in its early stages, it's unknown to what extent the dentin is damaged, what this would mean for patients and whether the damage is permanent, he said.

"Our results show that treatment with hydrogen peroxide concentrations similar to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear", Keenan said.

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