Can Whitening Strips Cause Cancer?

You really want to whiten your teeth but someone once told you that teeth whiteners can cause cancer in your mouth. Is that true?

No, there is no definitive link between the use of whitening strips and development of cancer.

Some people suspected that there might be a link to the two due to how the leading causes of oral cancer among most people no longer seem to be the usual vectors like tobacco and alcoholism. This concern was augmented with the understanding that of the 50,0000 people who develop oral cancer each year, the majority are relatively young, falling beneath the age of 45.

In order to verify any connection between teeth whiteners and cancer, a research team of doctors working in Georgetown University Hospital hypothesized that the increased use of whiteners among the young might be the culprit. They analyzed the ingredients and also the implementation of teeth whiteners in order to see if they might be a factor for heightened vulnerability to oral cancer.

How Do Teeth Whiteners Work?

Teeth whiteners work because of carbamide peroxide, containing 35% hydrogen peroxide. This is a substance that is usually placed within trays that the patient keeps over their teeth, allowing the peroxide to do its work of breaking apart surface stains. Whiteners are easy to purchase over the counter or through a dentist.

The researchers’ study involved comparing two young patients who had both developed oral cancer and made use of teeth whiteners over the past few years. These physicians were curious about what substances made contact with the mouth.

While the active ingredients are supposed to stay on the teeth and in their trays, over half of the gel ends up in the rest of the mouth. While considered harmless, the worry was that this interaction would inflame the mouth enough to lead to cellular damage-a common element in the development of cancer.

The Results

The researchers discovered no conclusive link between teeth whiteners and oral cancer. While any free radicals that result from the whitening process are still considered a potential cancer factor, none of the information gleaned so far points to a conclusion. It should be pointed out that because the study used a survey size of two, with no control group, more information is needed to make a definitive connection between the two.

One takeaway from this information is that you may be better off having your dentist handle your teeth whitening. A dentist can provide customized trays that will ensure the gel only goes where it should or even paint the whitener directly onto the stained teeth. Over the counter whiteners usually do not go through testing their ability to keep the gel on the teeth; something that the study of two patient alludes to.

For the time being, you should feel free to whiten your teeth however you like. That said, it may be best to undergo the process with a professional nearby.

What Does Cancer In The Mouth Look And Feel Like?

When someone develops oral cancer, there’s usually a distinct mass or abnormal-looking area that can be seen either in the mirror or by a dentist or dental hygienist.

Common Ways Cancer Can Appear In Your Mouth:

  • Pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Mass in your mouth
  • White, red and white, or just red patches of tissue on your lips or in your mouth

What Causes Cancer To Develop In Your Mouth?

If you whitened your teeth and then discovered cancer in your mouth shortly thereafter, there are many, many other likelier things that caused that cancer including:

  • Tobacco use (smoking, chewing, dipping, etc)
  • Family history of cancer (genetics)
  • Over-consumption of alcoholic drinks
  • Too much sun especially when younger
  • HPV – Human Papillomavirus – certain varieties of this virus can result in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Are Teeth Whitening Strips Totally Safe?

No. Teeth Whitening strips can cause some problems in certain people. The most common side effects are gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.

These side effects can be mitigated by using top quality products and using them exactly as directed. The best whitening strips on the market are below: