Review claims tooth whiteners not harmful to health

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hydrogen peroxide, Carbamide peroxide, Us

A new review has dismissed claims that hydrogen peroxide used as a
whitening agent can be linked to oral cancer, indicating good news
for mass retailers of teeth whitening products.

After a review of the clinical and laboratory data on tooth whitening, Dr. Ian Monroe claims this week in the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry, there is no evidence to suggest the process accelerates or encourages the development of oral cancer, despite former worries by the European Commission.

A statement by Blackwell Publishing said: 'Common tooth whitening products, which have been used by millions of people, are found to be safe and do not increase the risk of oral cancer when used as directed.'

These findings could prove significant to the $500 million tooth whitening industry which has been plagued with concerns over the use of hydrogen peroxide and the effect it has on consumer's health, with previous suggestions that all tooth whitening products should only be used after consulting a doctor, inhibiting mass retail plans for manufacturers in the US.

However, the article suggests that exposure to hydrogen peroxide in tooth whiteners is too low to cause any effect. During the tooth whitening period, the teeth and mouth are normally exposed to the chemical for around 30-60 minutes, a time period that is stated to be to short to see any damage caused.

'Concentrations of hydrogen peroxide rapidly decline to near undetectable levels usually within 15-60 minutes'​ said Blackwell Publishing.

The review also takes note of the expected increased use of tooth whitening products by smokers and discusses concerns that the combined exposure to carcinogenic agents that are in both cigarettes and hydrogen peroxide could lead to an increased chance of lung or oral cancer. However, review of the data concluded that such claims were groundless.

The tooth-whitening market has grown better with stats in the US in the course of the past few years. The top ten non-food and drink launches in the US in 2004 revealed that three of the top ten products were from a range of tooth whitening products, according to a survey by Information Resources Inc.

Research by tanning-advisor.com has shown that tooth whitening is completely effective in more than 78 per cent of people and continuing to grow in popularity. Professional tooth whitening is a lucrative business, but, the less expensive alternative of do-it-yourself kits are also popular, retailing from $29.50 up to $800.

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