Teeth-whitening products used to maintain a dazzling smile may cause hidden tooth damage, research suggests.
While of course the manufacturers have studied potential ill effects and promise that the products are safe, now recent research throws the safety of these products into question.
Researchers did three studies and found that the active ingredient in the strips, hydrogen peroxide, can damage the tissue beneath your teeth enamel.
Most studies of whitening strips have focused on the tooth enamel, but the new research looked at what happened to dentin in teeth exposed to hydrogen peroxide.
The tissue is called dentin, and it makes up most of the tooth.
It is well established that hydrogen peroxide can penetrate the enamel and dentin.
"Our results showed that treatment with hydrogen peroxide concentrations similar to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear, which is presumably due to the formation of many smaller fragments", said Kelly Keenan, Associate Professor at the varsity.
Further, they plan to 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.
What they found was that the collagen in the dentin is broken into smaller fragments when treated with hydrogen peroxide. In additional experiments, they treated pure collagen with hydrogen peroxide and then analysed the protein using a gel electrophoresis laboratory technique that allows the protein to be visualized.
So it is clear that the hydrogen peroxide can harm the dentin - but it remains unclear what this means in terms of permanent damage.
The findings were presented during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting held in Orlando, Florida.