Having a brighter smile doesn’t always mean its a healthier smile. Teeth whiteners contain hydrogen peroxide which can harm the dentin tissue underneath the tooth’s enamel, according to three studies that will be presented this week during the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting.
“We sought to further characterize what the hydrogen peroxide was doing to collagen,” said Kelly Keenan, a researcher at Stockton University and study author, in a news release. “We used entire teeth for the studies and focused on the impact hydrogen peroxide has on the proteins.”
The tooth consists of the outer tooth enamel, the dentin layer and the tissue that connects the roots to the gums. While most studies have concentrated on the enamel level, these findings study the effects of hydrogen peroxide on the collagen that makes up much of the dentin layer.
When the researchers applied hydrogen peroxide to dentin, it broke the protein down into pieces.
“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,” Keenan said.
The researchers say they will continue to see what effect hydrogen peroxide has on other teeth proteins and whether the damage it does to collagen is permanent.
Image: Teeth whiteners contain hydrogen peroxide, which can harm the dentin tissue underneath the tooth’s enamel.