Bright white teeth abound on television and in the theatre. Everywhere we look gleaming smiles cast an electric blue tint. But, is it natural or even healthy to have glowingly white teeth?

In a word..No. Overbleaching causes sensitivity and destroys tooth enamel. Once the enamel is gone there is no getting it back. Loss of enamel exposes the dentin which is not as white as enamel and is more porous than enamel making it more susceptible to staining and decay.

Most of the time, individuals will see an improvement after a few weeks of at-home bleaching treatments, then they make that crucial mistake and assume that if a little is good, a lot is better. Bleaching everyday, wearing the product for too long and using several different whitening products can all lead to enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity and even damage delicate gum tissues. At least half of all people who undergo bleaching treatments experience tooth sensitivity afterwards. The sensitivity usually subsides after two weeks but for may “bleachorexics” that is about the time the need to bleach again presents itself.

Eventually teeth lose their natural translucence and begin to take on a blue-grey hue, looking thin and deteriorated. There is no recovering from over bleaching, once the enamel is damaged or eroded, it is gone forever. In the worst-case scenarios, a root canal may be needed to remove the damaged pulp of the tooth.

When bleaching, the goal should be to achieve a white that matches the whites of your eyes, not the porcelain of the toilet.

Undergoing a whitening treatment is a great way to improve your smile and boost self-confidence. It is relatively inexpensive and can be done in the privacy of your own home. Just remember to consult your dentist before beginning any treatment (even over-the-counter remedies) and to follow the instructions exactly. As with most things, the key to a successful whitening treatment is moderation.

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