Teeth Whitening Obsession Leads to “Bleachorexia”

Did you know that your smile is often the first characteristic someone notices when they meet you for the first time? And because it is as easy as ever to whiten your teeth, enhancing your best attribute is as simple as taking a quick trip to the pharmacy or your favorite dentist. Using teeth whitening products is a safe and effective way of improving your overall look when used correctly, but for some, over-whitening has become a real problem.  Take for example a recent story from ABC News, featuring five-time World Boxing Council champion, Mia St. John, and unfortunately, her story isn’t all that rare.

Obsessed with achieving and maintaining a megawatt smile, St. John confessed to brushing and bleaching her teeth constantly.  Fortunately for Mia, she visited her dentist before it was too late. “He said my teeth could basically turn to mush just because I was destroying the enamel,” she said. Overbleaching has become quite common actually, and has led to a new phrase used by industry experts, “bleachorexia.” According to Laurence Rifkin, a cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles, overbleaching can lead to receding gums and oversensitivity. It can also have the opposite effect as intended, leaving teeth with a darker appearance. In this case, “too much of a good thing is really bad,” he said. In extreme cases of bleachorexia, Rifkin has even heard of people rubbing Clorox bleach on their teeth. While this product is excellent for scrubbing toilets, it should never be used in the mouth or skin.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that those who choose to use a bleaching product do so only after consulting with their dentist. This is especially true for patients with several fillings, crowns, and dark stains. After a thorough examination, a patient and dentist can decide together if whitening is appropriate and which method is most advised.  According to the ADA, not enough information is available to support unsupervised long-term and/or repeated use of bleaching products. Overbleaching can actually cause irreversible damage, because once the enamel is gone, it’s gone for good, adding to the importance of supervised bleaching. The professionals at Miami Dental Sedation Spa are very experienced in the process of teeth whitening  and can offer advice and treatments to help you work towards the smile of your dreams. Contact us today to discuss your options.

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