The quest to get bright, white teeth is starting to become an addictive overbleacher obsession called bleachorexia. This is a term specialists use to describe someone who has become addicted to bleaching their teeth to the point it affects their dental health.
Other terms for this addiction is called “overbleacher” or “bleach junky.” Such patients abuse in-office and at home bleaching agents, leaving teeth eroded, prone to sensitivity and extremely unhealthy, despite their brilliantly white exteriors.
Carbamide peroxide, the whitening agent in most bleaches, can irritate the gums, causing them to recede, making the teeth brittle, chalky and so thin as to be translucent at the edges when the product is overused. Many people bleach for years, using combinations of professional bleaching trays, at-home whitening kits, toothpastes and a few sessions at a “bleaching spa.”
For some people, their teeth are never white enough, so they’ll do anything to brighten their smile.
Why is overbleaching harmful?
Beyond making teeth weak and prone to decay, too many teeth whitening treatments can actually strip away the protective enamel allowing the underbody of the teeth, which is naturally more yellow in color, to show through. In severe cases, the enamel doesn’t grow back. Sometimes we have to put crowns or veneers on when the teeth have become too damaged.
Americans spend more than a billion dollars a year just on over-the-counter teeth-whitening products, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. While bleaching can be done safely, especially under the guidance of a dentist, the advent of at-home bleaching kits and spa bleaching treatments have made it all too easy for bleaching junkies to double up or triple up on treatments at the expense of their dental health.
At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES, we know that bleaching is very effective in moderation, and it’s safe in moderation. When you’re bleaching all the time, beyond what is recommended — that’s when you run into problems. If you are wanting lighter teeth, we can help you safely with all your bleaching needs.