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Tooth Whitening May Outperform BOTOX

Apparently, the demand for tooth whitening may be exceeding consumer demands to inject their wrinkles with botulinum toxin -- better known as BOTOX, according to this interesting USA Today feature.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry estimates tooth whitening has exploded by some 300 percent over the past decade, and it's the leading dental procedure requested by patients under age 20 and between ages 30-50.

Moreover, there's so many whitening products already available in the consumer pipeline, many dentists have called the destination of such items in drug and grocery stores, the dental aisle of confusion.

These solutions can be very problematic, one dentist warns, because the average consumer can't discern how much whitening can erode enamel and many products don't clearly define any limits to their use. And, for patients who don't want to wait too long for any one of a plethora of over-the-counter alternatives to work, he or she can opt for standard whitening that necessitates making a plastic model of the mouth for at-home bleaching or the even-more-expensive Zoom treatment that can accelerate the process.

Before you consider any whitening procedure, be aware many options feature the use of hydrogen peroxide, not at all a safe choice because it can cause your teeth to become sensitive. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide forms radical intermediates that can damage and destroy your gums and nerves, a good reason to consult with your doctor to make an informed choice before doing anything.

USA Today January 6, 2007