There is a growing demand for natural ingredients in a range of products from the UK (and global) population. People care about what they are putting in or on their bodies, its impact on the environment and its long-term sustainability. This is particularly true for cosmetic or health products[i] and is no different in dentistry.
Tooth whitening is a fine example of where product ingredients may be changing to reflect this shift in preferences. Of course, solutions still need to be backed by science and research, but utilisation of safe, cruelty-free and natural substances is becoming the new gold standard.
Demand for whitening remains high
In today’s appearance-driven society, cosmetic dental procedures like tooth whitening remain in-demand. In the UK, cosmetic dentistry in general is predicted to rise by 5% annually until 2026.[ii] Globally, tooth whitening alone is estimated to be worth more than USD 6.86 billion and is projected to rise to USD 11.66 billion by 2030.[iii]
There are many reasons why tooth whitening is so popular – not least of which is the speed with which quite dramatic changes can be achieved. The procedure itself is also typically non-invasive and cost-effective, making it accessible to the vast majority of patients interested in improving their smile aesthetics and their self-confidence.
Traditional whitening mechanisms
Hydrogen peroxide is a common whitening agent used across various traditional products. It is irradiated by precise laser wavelengths that thermocatalyse the peroxide and cause it to release free radicals. These penetrate the tooth structure and lead to an oxidation reaction, breaking down the organic molecules into smaller, colourless compounds and thus whitening the colour of the tooth.[iv]
Despite the relative success of peroxide-based compounds used in tooth whitening, there remains some debate over their safety. The free radicals released during the process have been associated with increased sensitivity and pulp damage.[v] Hydrogen peroxide has also been linked to soft tissue alterations, gentotoxicity, cytotoxicity and gingival irritation. One study demonstrated that pro-inflammatory alterations can be detected in samples of gingival crevicular fluid,[vi] postulating that the higher the concentration of hydrogen peroxide applied, the greater the soft tissue inflammation, especially at pulp level. Hydrogen peroxide has also been associated with demineralisation. This seems to be particularly apparent in already demineralised dentition, although even in healthy enamel, the whitening agent could cause negative effects to a depth of up to 20 µm.[vii]
There are various substances derived from nature that can be used for whitening effects. Papain, for example, is an interesting enzyme found in raw papaya fruit. It disrupts the biofilm on the teeth and gums, helping to dislodge bacteria and staining compounds. In doing so, the enzyme increases the amount of light that is reflected off the tooth, hence making it appear lighter and brighter. Bromelain – an enzyme extracted from the juice and stem of the pineapple – has a similar impact on the dental biofilm. Studies have found products containing papain and bromelain to provide significantly better luminosity and stain removal compared to those that don’t.[viii]
With regards to a possible substitute for peroxide, phthalimido-peroxy-caproic acid – or PAP as it is more affectionately known – is a powerful oxidising agent. The difference between this and peroxide is that PAP does not release free radicals. As such, it is not associated with the tooth sensitivity, gingival irritation or demineralisation that peroxide has been linked with.[ix] This means that it breaks down stains without any potential side effects, providing a win-win for patients and professionals alike. In addition to its enhanced safety characteristics, PAP has also been shown to outperform 6% hydrogen peroxide when it comes to stain removal and tooth shade improvement.[x]
Another natural substance that supports the whitening process is hydrated silica. Harder than stains but softer than enamel, this can be used to remove staining from the teeth without damaging the tooth surface in any way. Studies have found hydrated silica to effectively demonstrate a whitening effect from just 3 days of use. [xi]
Helping patients achieve that billion-dollar smile
For dental professionals, the challenge is to find a whitening product that you can trust to deliver reliable results, while also containing the natural ingredients that patients seek. Billion Dollar Smile purple toothpaste from Oraldent provides such a solution. Designed from peroxide-free, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and all-natural ingredients, the unique formula is clinically tested and scientifically proven to work. It utilises PAP, papain enzymes, bromelain, hydrated silica and several other natural substances to gently but effectively whiten the teeth with minimal risk of sensitivity, soft tissue damage or demineralisation.
The beauty of nature is that it often provides the answers to challenges we are facing and many products in dentistry now very successfully utilise natural ingredients to deliver optimal results. Helping patients to whiten and brighten their teeth is no different – choose the natural option.
To order visit our Wholesale section.
[i] Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What is the demand for natural ingredients for cosmetics on the European market? March 2022. https://www.cbi.eu/market-information/natural-ingredients-cosmetics/what-demand [Accessed December 2022]
[ii] Credence Research. (2018) Cosmetic Dentistry Market By Product (Dentistry Systems And Equipment, Dental Implants, Dental Bridges, Dental Crowns, Bonding Agents, Orthodontic Braces, Inlays And Onlays, Dental Veneers, Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) Detectors) – Growth, Share, Opportunities & Competitive Analysis, 2018 – 2026. Link: https://www.credenceresearch.com/report/cosmetic-dentistry-market. [Last accessed: 29.01.19].
[iii] Straits research. Teeth whitening market size is projected to reach USD 11.66 billion by 2030, growing at a CARG of 5.45%.July 2022. https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/07/28/2488255/0/en/Teeth-Whitening-Market-Size-is-projected-to-reach-USD-11-66-Billion-by-2030-growing-at-a-CAGR-of-5-45-Straits-Research.html [Accessed December 2022]
[iv] Fiorillo L, Laino L, De Stefano R, D’Amico C, Bocchieri S, Amoroso G, Isola G, Cervino G. Dental Whitening Gels: Strengths and Weaknesses of an Increasingly Used Method. Gels. 2019 Jul 4;5(3):35. doi: 10.3390/gels5030035. PMID: 31277412; PMCID: PMC6787621.
[v] De Almeida LCAG, Costa CAS, Riehl H, dos Santos PH, Sundfeld RH, Briso ALF. Occurrence of sensitivity during at-home and in-office tooth bleaching therapies with or without use of light sources. Buenos Aires abr. Acta odontol. Latinoam. 2012;25(1). Online version ISSN 1852-4834
[vi] Colares VLP, Lima SNL, Sousa NCF, Araújo MC, Pereira DMS, Mendes SJF, Teixeira SA, Monteiro CA, Bandeca MC, Siqueira WL, Moffa EB, Muscará MN, Fernandes ES. Hydrogen peroxide-based products alter inflammatory and tissue damage-related proteins in the gingival crevicular fluid of healthy volunteers: a randomized trial. Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 5;9(1):3457. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40006-w. PMID: 30837573; PMCID: PMC6400941.
[vii] Briso ALF, Gonçalves RS, da Costa FB, Gallinari MO, Cintra LTA, dos Santos PH. Demineralization and hydrogen peroxide penetration in teeth with incipient lesions. Braz. Dent. J. April 2015;26(2) https://doi.org/10.1590/0103-6440201300225 [Accessed December 2022]
[viii] Chakravarthy P, Acharya S. Efficacy of extrinsic stain removal by novel dentifrice containing papain and bromelain extracts. J Young Pharm. 2012 Oct;4(4):245-9. doi: 10.4103/0975-1483.104368. PMID: 23493413; PMCID: PMC3573376.
[ix] Qin J, Zeng L, Min W, Tan L, Lv R, Chen Y. A bio-safety tooth-whitening composite gel with novel phthalimide peroxy caproic acid. Composites Communications. June 2019; 13: 107-111
[x] Pascolutti M, de Oliveira D. A Radical-Free Approach to Teeth Whitening. Dentistry Journal. 2021; 9(12):148. https://doi.org/10.3390/dj9120148
[xi] Cho MJ, Shin SC, Chung SY. In vivo study on the tooth whitening by use of hydrated silica and sodium hexametaphosphate contained dentifice. Int J Clin Dent. 2020; 16(2):58-67 https://doi.org/10.15236/ijcpd.2020.16.2.58 [Accessed December 2022]