Teeth whitening is like skin bleaching – Health officials warn, enumerating dangers
House officers at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra have warned that teeth bleaching is harmful.
Dr Nathacia Nana Ama Agyemang and Physician Assistant (PA) Afra Asante-Adipah speaking exclusively to Class News’ Prince Benjamin argued that it is like skin bleaching.
Dr Agyemang explained.
“What it means is that, sometimes you bleaching your teeth or skin is just for aesthetic reasons. Just because you want to look fair or you want it to look nice,” she said. “But medically, there is no requirement that tells you to bleach your teeth.”
She cited the local proverb that says all hands are not same or equal.
“All of us have different shades of our teeth,” she added.
According to her, “when you go into medical literature, our teeth are naturally not supposed to be even that white because of the dentinal layer.”
The dentinal layer is yellow, she continued, “it has different shades of yellow. That’s what we see when we look into your mouth – it’s supposed to be yellow.”
Usually, the individuals who have completely white teeth are babies, she indicated. “But as a person grows it changes.”
She decried the notion that one must have “pearly white teeth,” noting that social media has painted an unrealistic picture for people.
“Everybody wants to go with the social media trends,” she noted. “This is why they go for the teeth bleaching.”
The medical doctor warned that “at the end of the day, teeth bleaching is done with chemicals.”
“Just like what happens with the skin, these are chemicals you’re using to touch something that does not need touching.
“When you do it – at that moment, you think it’s cool but in the long term, you’d have to keep bleaching it because it will not stay [pearly white],” she cautioned.
Dr Nathacia Nana Ama Agyemang outlined some of the dangers of teeth bleaching.
“It’s like your skin, when you bleach it, you have to keep at it, and if you do that you’re introducing all sorts of chemicals into your mouth, you’re weakening the structure of your teeth, and it’ll bring you a lot of problems,” she said, noting that the bleaching industry “needs their money so they won’t tell you that.”
The cosmetic dentist will attend to you as many times as you please, she said, but teeth bleaching “has so many complications so it’s not [advisable].”
“As long as your teeth are hard, they are strong, there are no caries [decay or cavities], and you can chew,” she said, one should be fine with a healthy and recommended dental health routine.
On whether one should completely stay away from teeth whitening or do it sparingly, Dr Agyemang answered: “Personally, I’d say it’s a complete no.”
She, however, invited Physician Assistant (PA) Afra Asante-Adipah to share her thoughts.
“Well, if people ask for my personal opinion, I’ll say: ‘No’,” she said. “But you see life is full of choices.”
She outlined some of the reasons a person may want to whiten their teeth.
“Somebody would want to whiten their teeth, maybe, for a special programme, an occasion, maybe they’re going to have a wedding or something [similar],” she said. “But just like the skin, if you apply a cream that lightens your skin up, if you stop applying the cream, it goes back to the natural colour.”
Dr Agyemang agreed.
The danger, she underscored, is “the temptation of repeating it [the bleaching] and that is what brings about [problems such as] the [teeth] sensitivity.”
Doing it once does not do much harm to your teeth, she said, stressing that it is “the probability of getting used to that sparkle and you may want to continue to do it.”
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