Warning as thousands of Aussies are trying DIY teeth whitening

Light pearly white may look healthy, but there may be an ugly truth behind that sparkling smile.

A drastic increase in at-home teeth whitening could cause untold harm to thousands of Australians as people over-bleach their enamel in search of the perfect selfie.

The Australian Dentistry Association’s 2021 consumer survey of 25,000 Australians found 22 per cent had their teeth whitened – an eight per cent increase since 2017.

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The survey found that more than twice as many women as men are getting them lightened, and the trend is most popular among 24-34 year olds.

But what’s most alarming is the number of people buying DIY kits, says ADA teeth whitening expert dentist Dr. Fadi Yassim from Sydney.

Only one in three whiten their teeth under the supervision of a dentist, the rest buy kits online or over the counter, and almost one in ten use whitening services provided by non-dental professionals.

“Teeth are naturally yellow in hue.”

“The reason for the increase in lightening is multifactorial,” Yassim told AAP.

“There is increased awareness through social media and online platforms; treatment is more readily available and at much lower cost; Clients place more value on dental aesthetics as it is usually associated with beauty and health; and of course celebrities and social media influencers are known to have had teeth whitening which popularized the procedure.”

Advanced Dental Artistry’s Justina Teo sees the “shame of yellow teeth” as a direct result of this generation’s obsession with selfies and social media, but said it’s important to remember teeth aren’t meant to be gleaming white.

“Teeth are naturally yellow in hue because of the dentin beneath the enamel,” she said.

“Dentin is the yellow tissue that makes up most of the tooth and is generally more opaque than enamel. Stains can also be picked up by pigments from the food we eat or drink.”

Research suggests that 22 percent of Australians have their teeth bleached. Credit: EPA

Turning yellowed teeth white can be as simple as using a dental scale and polish to remove stains, plaque and tartar, Teo said.

“A dentist is the best person to diagnose the cause and severity of discolored teeth and suggest the best treatment for whiter teeth.”

They will identify any underlying dental issues that could make whitening painful and harmful.

“Imagine putting peroxide on a tooth decay,” she warned.

Professor Alexander Holden of the University of Sydney School of Dentistry said teeth whitening should only be done in conjunction with professional advice and support.

“Teeth whitening should be done after a full examination and clear oral health certification from a dentist,” Prof. Holden told AAP.

“Otherwise, teeth whitening may cause damage to teeth that require additional care or may not produce the results expected from a consumer perspective.

“Many whitening products can also irritate or burn gums, so it’s important to ensure a properly fitted teeth whitening tray is used when using take-out teeth whitening.”

Australia has far fewer legal restrictions on purchasing the products and providing teeth whitening services than other parts of the world, he added.

“The balance is not to unduly restrict access while ensuring the public is not put at risk,” he said.

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https://7news.com.au/news/public-health/urgent-warning-as-thousands-of-aussies-try-diy-teeth-whitening–c-9934914 Warning as thousands of Aussies are trying DIY teeth whitening

James Brien

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