The Dangers of Bleachorexia

The Dangers of Bleachorexia

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Many of us wish our pearly whites were, well, whiter. Companies have taken notice of our obsession with dazzling smiles and now offer a vast array of products with whitening components. Likewise, professional treatments are also commonplace.

These procedures are often safe and effective – but some people go overboard and become obsessed with achieving those sparkly white teeth. Experts call this behavioral disorder bleachorexia for its similarities to the compulsion that drives anorexia. 

Bleachorexia can be dangerous in several ways. Let’s take a look at how. 

  • Tooth Sensitivity. We sometimes experience pain when we eat or drink something cold. It’s normal for us to experience this from time to time. But this problem can become more severe as a result of over-bleaching. Teeth whitening procedures will often make your teeth sensitive for a while. This temporary problem typically goes away after a few days. It becomes a longer-lasting problem if you over-bleach, however. Repeated bleaching can weaken your teeth’s enamel. It’s for this reason that your teeth become more sensitive to cold and heat. Additionally, you may find it painful to eat food that isn’t soft. 
  • Gum Irritation and Recession. Even if your teeth can withstand the bleach, your gums aren’t as resilient. Your gums, like your teeth, may also experience sensitivity with too much teeth whitening. They can become irritated and inflamed. When this problem happens, you may find your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth. In some cases, your gums may also recede or retract. When this happens, your gums essentially shrink and expose the root of your teeth. If you have dental issues such as gum disease or cavities, you have an even higher risk of gum recession. Once your gums recede, fixing the problem can be challenging. Your dentist may have to perform a soft tissue graft to alleviate your sensitivity. 
  • Irreversible Dental Erosion. Some whitening solutions are not safe and cause harm. You need to make sure that you consult a dentist and only use approved systems under professional supervision. For instance, your teeth can become smaller as a result of over-bleaching. Additionally, over the counter or online teeth whiteners cause the problems. In addition to not being attractive, this can also make it more difficult for you to eat. Moreover, dental erosion means you’re at an increased risk of developing cavities.

Worrying about the problems associated with bleachorexia won't be necessary if you go to your dentist for teeth whitening. Your dentist can also advise whether you are using over-the-counter products correctly. 

Advice on Teeth Whitening from Experts in St. Paul, Minnesota

Teeth whitening or bleaching in itself doesn’t destroy your teeth. Problems only arise when you do so excessively. The right way to achieve healthy white teeth is to consult with an expert about your options and how often you should bleach them. 

If you’re in the St. Paul area in Minnesota, Dr. Steven Hagerman and our team of professionals can help you make the smart choice. You can call Hagerman Dental Care at (651) 646-2392 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment now. Your best smile is but a mere phone call away.