An increasing number of teeth whitening products designed for home use are entering the consumer market. A new analysis of published data shows that, although there is considerable variation between products, they do work? at least in the short term. The data also showed that some products can cause mild to moderate tooth sensitivity and cause irritation of the gums.

The Authors of this Cochrane systematic Review note that amidst more than 400 articles that looked at teeth whitening agents, only 25 met their inclusion criteria. All looked at the effect after using the whitener for two weeks, but only 13 studies reported outcome data one week after this two-week application period. Of these, only 6 reported outcome data after one month or longer.

“People should be aware that there is no available long term data on the effect or safety of these products,” says lead author Dr Hana Hasson.

The Review Authors also noted that all of the trials were either sponsored or carried out by the manufacturers of the products.

“There is an urgent need for independent long-term studies evaluating the effectiveness and harms associated with home teeth-whitening products,” says Hasson.

Hasson H, Ismail AI, Neiva G. Home-based chemically-induced whitening of teeth in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4.
Art. No.: CD006202. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006202.

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