Teeth whitening products can harm protein-rich tooth layer

Americans spend more than a billion dollars on teeth whitening products each year. Although these products can make smiles brighter, new research shows that they might also be causing tooth damage.

In three new studies, researchers found that hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in over-the-counter whitening strips, can damage the protein-rich dentin tissue found beneath the tooth’s protective enamel.

Undergraduates working in the laboratory of Kelly Keenan, PhD, associate professor of chemistry at Stockton University in New Jersey, will present this research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting to be held April 6-9 in Orlando, Fla.

The tooth is made of three layers: the outer tooth enamel, an underlying dentin layer and connective tissue that binds the roots to the gum. Most studies of whitening strips have focused on tooth enamel, which contains very little protein. Kennan’s research team focuses on dentin, which makes up most of the tooth and has high levels of protein, most of which is collagen…..READ MORE