Blue Light Teeth Whitening – Does It Work?
The use of blue light to aid in whitening teeth has become extremely popular lately. It began as high-powered UV lights in dentist’s offices. Then some enterprising folks started setting up blue light tooth whitening stations at the mall. And inevitably, small battery-powered consumer devices hit the market in the $10 range.
But do any of these "light activated bleaching" procedures work?
The evidence is strongest in favor of dental laser whitening, as performed with a professional grade hydrogen peroxide mixture and a high powered dental laser. However, even in this situation, the evidence is mixed.
1. The studies which prove that blue dental laser lights improve the whitening experience have all been funded by the makers of said blue dental laser lights.
2. Furthermore, none of these studies were performed as double-blind tests. Patients received either no treatment, treatment with gel only, or treatment with gel plus the laser light.
Between these two factors, these studies should be treated with extreme skepticism. Recent studies which were performed as true double-blind tests showed no difference in teeth which were treated with the laser versus teeth which were not.
Unfortunately, the experience and after-effects of tooth whitening treatments are highly subjective. Therefore it’s doubly important to have proper double-blind studies, and that these studies be performed by a disinterested third party.
One thing is clear: most of the work here is being performed by the hydrogen peroxide gel. The gel will whiten your teeth perfectly well, even without having a blue light pointed at it.
On the far end of the scale, small widgets which shine a blue light on your teeth are completely useless. You may have seen these devices at the drug store, or in those “Single mom discovers tooth whitening trick” ads online. The only thing these devices do is clean out your wallet. (A task they perform surprisingly well.)
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