When dentists create custom-fit whitening trays for patients, they may use carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent. This oxidizing substance has been utilized for years in cosmetic dentistry to combat external enamel stains; however, its benefits go beyond aesthetic effects.
Carbamide peroxide was originally used as an oral antiseptic due to its ability to eliminate bacteria and plaque, as well as raise the mouth’s pH to a more cavity-resistant level; so, while its most popular present-day purpose is as a whitening agent, its hygienic value hasn’t gone unnoticed by today’s dentists.
“What we’ve noticed through whitening patients’ teeth over the years is that as they bleached, their teeth got squeaky clean and their gingival health improved,” explains Dr. Van Haywood, a professor and co-author of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
In addition to giving cosmetic dentistry patients an extra perk when whitening, this finding could lead to an unconventional method of helping elderly and disabled patients maintain a healthy mouth. While those with physical or mental challenges may not necessarily be interested in whitening their teeth, custom bleaching trays with carbamide peroxide could serve as an oral hygiene treatment.
“All these benefits lead us to believe that tray bleaching can be a very effective supplemental method of oral hygiene for patients facing greater challenges keeping their mouths clean,” says Dr. David Lazarchik, the study’s co-author.
The researchers say the next step is to determine the specific protocol that would best benefit special-needs patients.
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