Is Titanium Dioxide the Latest Way to Whiten Teeth?
With so many various teeth whitening products available on the market, there are questions as to how many of these are actually safe. However, natural remedies to combat those unsightly yellow shades may not be strong enough for some of the more stubborn stains, leaving many on the lookout for products that are unlikely to leave them with nasty side effects.
Scientists have recently discovered that titanium dioxide, a chemical which is used globally to help whiten plastics, paper and paint, could be the next up-and-coming trend in teeth whitening thanks to being a less abrasive option than the commonly used hydrogen peroxide. In a study by the American Chemical Society, as well as scientists from Nanchang University in China, both believe that the substance, which has been previously used to help lighten skin a couple of shades, could be a breakthrough in the industry.
At Nanchang University, Xiaolei Wang and Lan Liao took a look at how hydrogen peroxide was used in teeth whitening. After applying the chemical to the surface of the teeth, it steals electrons from the pigment molecules, which are known to cause discolouration. After applying blue light to the surface of the teeth, this speeds the process up by causing a chemical reaction. From their studies, they found that this breaks down the tooth’s enamel, which can actually cause irreparable damage, as well as sensitivity.
The team at the Chinese university took to observing titanium dioxide, watching how their nanoparticles reacted when exposed to polydopamine. Their findings showed that the substance reacted in a similar way to hydrogen peroxide, without being as toxic to the cells involved. This meant that no damage was being caused to the surface of the teeth or the enamel.
The American Chemical Society replicated this and discovered that over four hours, the chemical lightened the teeth the same as hydrogen peroxide, a finding which led to scientists calling the substance “potentially exciting”.
Richard Marques, a dentist at Wimpole Street Dental in London, said of the findings: “This is interesting research on a new technique used for whitening modified titanium dioxide nanoparticles with polydopamine. It is potentially exciting and could stop some of the side effects from hydrogen peroxide”.
Although scientists will need to undertake more research with this substance, it looks promising that there could soon be a teeth whitening agent which is less harmful to the surface of teeth, which is good news for the trend. However, if you’re wondering what treatment would work best for your teeth now, take a look at our teeth whitening system reviews for more information.