Today we live in a society obsessed with health and beauty. Most people would agree that having a clean, healthy mouth is an important part of a person’s overall health. Tooth bleaching is a procedure to whiten a persons teeth. Teeth are coated with a hard outer layer called enamel, which under magnification is made up of rods with hollow centers. Tooth bleaching works by removing the organic stains inside of the enamel rods.
Bleaching teeth started 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt. In Egyptian society white teeth were a sign of wealth and beauty. A paste made of wine vinegar and pumice was rubbed on the teeth to whiten them. Modern dentistry accidentally discovered tooth bleaching because teeth were whiter after using hydrogen peroxide to treat gum disease.
Teeth appear darker for various reasons. First, nerve canals in teeth calcify and make teeth darker. Second, people genetically have darker teeth. Third, people get intrinsic stains inside of the teeth sometimes caused by drugs, such as tetracycline. Fourth, stains in the tooth enamel caused by food, tobacco, and drinks are called extrinsic stains. Tooth bleaching removes extrinsic stains in enamel.
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