The dark side of teeth-whitening strips

Pearly whites can come with a price.

Teeth whitening is expected to become a $7.4 billion industry by 2024, with Americans spending $1.4 billion alone on over-the-counter whiteners to bleach away the stains from cigarettes, red wine, coffee and natural aging, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. But preliminary research presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s annual meeting this week suggests that these whitening strips could be damaging teeth beneath the surface.

Our teeth are made of three layers: the outer white enamel layer; the underlying dentin layer composed of proteins (namely collagen); and the pulp in the center that houses nerves, blood vessels and connective that binds the tooth to our gums.

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