Want to look like Tom Cruise with bright white, sparkling teeth? Well, if so, you have plenty of options. Just try to stay away from the UV light-enhanced bleaching that is a cosmetic dentistry trend right now. A new article in a scientific journal says that this is not only a con, but that it can be outright dangerous to your eyes and skin.
The light treatment gives absolutely no benefit over bleaching without UV, and damages skin and eyes up to four times as much as sunbathing, reports a study in Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.
One lamp actually gave four times the level of radiation exposure that you'd get spending the entire day at the beach.
And as with sunbathing, fair-skinned or light-sensitive people are at even greater risk, said lead author Ellen Bruzell of the Nordic Institute of Dental Materials.
Bleaching, in general, also has its problems. Bruzell and her colleagues saw more exposed grooves on the enamel surfaces of bleached teeth than on unbleached teeth. These grooves make the teeth more vulnerable to mechanical stress. Dental bleaching is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments available. It uses a bleaching agent – usually hydrogen peroxide – to remove stains such as those from red wine, tea and coffee, and smoking.
UV light is claimed to further activate the oxidation process, improving bleaching efficiency. The authors of this article say there is very little substantive evidence to support this claim, and their new study finds no benefit to using UV light.