In the age of social media, everyone wants to have perfect pearly whites. To get a brighter smile, consumers can opt for over the counter teeth-whitening treatments or take a trip to the dentist to have their teeth bleached professionally. However, both types of treatments can harm teeth.
Researchers have now developed a new, less destructive method. Teeth can become discoloured on their outer surfaces when people consume coloured foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea or red wine. As a result, many people turn to non-invasive whitening treatments to bleach their teeth. Currently, the most common bleaching agent is hydrogen peroxide, which steals electrons from the pigment molecules that cause teeth discolouration, and this process can be sped up by exposing teeth to blue light.
However, high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can break down the tooth’s enamel, causing sensitivity or cell death. Therefore, Xiaolei Wang, Lan Liao, and colleagues wanted to see if a different blue-light-activated compound could be a safer, but still effective, alternative. The team modified titanium dioxide nanoparticles with polydopamine (nano-TiO2@PDA) so that they could be activated with blue light. After four hours of treatment, the whitening level was similar to that obtained with hydrogen-peroxide-based agents.
The group noted that no significant enamel damage was found on the surface of the tooth, and the treatment was significantly less cytotoxic than hydrogen peroxide.
The full findings are present in the journal- ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.