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The Historical Perspective on Teeth Whitening

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Getting a teeth whitening procedure has become a popular trend but the basic concept has been around for a very long time. Teeth whitening has bludgeoned into an entire industry, thanks in part to the concept of having the perfectly Hollywood smile. A pearly white smile comes with a boost of confidence making it the holy grail of many who seek to achieve a perfect look. The desire to have cleaner, more confident, and certainly whiter teeth is not new, however. From as long as we can remember, historically speaking, mankind has always sought to have better teeth. The first teeth cleaning devices were called chew sticks, based on the fact that they were chewed to remove plaque, and can be traced back to around 3000 BC. Ironically there are people who still swear by these ancient remedies today.
The Chinese invented the first device designed to actually brush the plaque off of a person’s teeth. These primitive brushes were made from the hair of a Siberian Hog, making them extremely coarse but were not popularly accepting in Europe for a very long time. The Europeans believed in keeping their teeth clean, and white, by the adopted Roman custom of picking teeth.  Today that custom exists in the form of a toothpick.
History aside, teeth whitening comes with its own set of urban legends and questions that we get from concerned patients who are considering this procedure. We must stress that teeth whitening is among the safest dental procedure you can have done. By and large all dental procedures are relatively straightforward with limited risks. Teeth whitening is one of those procedures that is so safe that many people just take on the task at home with custom whitening trays that we prepare. We recommend that you get your teeth whitened under our careful supervision for a number of reasons, including the fact that we can care for the overall health of your mouth.  While store-bought home solutions do work and are safe, they can also lead to inadvertent irritation due to leaking solution.
From among the many questions we get, here are our most popular urban myths:
Will teeth whitening erode my enamel?  There is no evidence to suggest that teeth whitening, in any form, damages your gums. Ancient people stood more of a chance of damaging their enamel with chew sticks than you can with whitening. The Journal of American Dentistry put out a comprehensive study recently that showed that there is no danger of enamel damage when you whiten your teeth, giving further credence to the safety of these procedures.
Can teeth whitening hurt? Teeth whitening may cause a level of sensitivity. This sensitivity is because we are putting whitening chemicals so close to the sensitive gum tissue. However, this will not last for more than twenty-four hours and will never devolve into pain. When people perform teeth whitening at home, they may be using trays that are not custom fitted to their teeth and stand a larger chance of exposing the gums to the chemicals, thereby increasing their sensitivity. This is one reason we recommend that you come to us and get all your teeth whitening needs met.

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