Tooth whiteners do not cause cancer

Hydrogen peroxide found to have no negative health effects

Ontario, Canada – November 16, 2006 -- Common tooth whitening products, which have been used by millions of people, are found to be safe and do not increase the risk of oral cancer when used as directed. This exhaustive review of the literature, including numerous unpublished clinical studies involving over 4,000 human subjects, appeared in an article by Dr. Ian Monroe entitled, " Use of Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Tooth Whitening Products and it Relationship to Oral Cancer," published in Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry.

Clinical and laboratory data on tooth whitening products show no evidence for the development of oral cancer or of other effects that could be associated with increased oral cancer risk. Exposures to hydrogen peroxide, generally the effective ingredient in tooth whiteners, are too low and of too short of a duration (30–60 minutes) to cause any oral tissue changes that could enhance risks for oral cancer development. Concentrations of hydrogen peroxide rapidly decline to near undetectable levels usually within 15 to 60 minutes.

Given the likely use of tooth whitening products by smokers, the review also sought to examine any possibility of increased oral cancer development due to combined exposure (i.e., hydrogen peroxide and carcinogenic agents that are present in cigarette smoke). A possible combined-effect, as seen in the increased likelihood of lung cancer development in smokers also exposed to asbestos, was found to be groundless with regards to bleaching and smoking and further illustrates the relative safety of tooth whitening products.

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This article is published in the current issue of Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article please contact profession alnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net

Dr. Ian Monroe is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Faculty of Medicine and Associate Director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs at the University of Toronto and Executive Vice President and Senior Scientific Consultant CANTOX Health Sciences International. He can be reached for questions at imunro@cantox.com.

About the Journal

The Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry is the longest standing peer-reviewed journal devoted solely to advancing the knowledge and practice of esthetic dentistry. Its goal is to provide the very latest evidence-based information in the realm of contemporary interdisciplinary esthetic dentistry through high quality clinical papers, sound research reports and educational features. For more information, please visit http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/jerd

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published more than 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects. Please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com for more information.


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