A Brief History of Tooth Whitening

Today, tooth whitening is a popular esthetic dental treatment—with affordable options ranging from in-office professional treatments and take-home gels and trays, to over-the-counter whitening strips.

egypt1But did you know that white teeth were prized by ancient civilizations, starting with the Egyptians some 4,000 years ago? Believing white teeth to be a sign of beauty and wealth, the Egyptians rubbed a combination of crushed pumice stone and wine vinegar on their teeth that was an effective whitener, if not somewhat harsh to the teeth.

Ancient Greeks resorted to plant-based mixtures and chemicals to combat tooth stains, while the Romans went a step further, using stale urine to bleach their teeth. It was the custom to use urine to bleach animal hides white, which led the Romans to realize that it was the ammonia in the urine that was also successful as a bleaching agent for teeth.

In the 17th century, barbers used acid to whiten client’s teeth, and Europeans during the Renaissance applied bleach to their teeth as a whitening agent—both of which caused erosion of tooth enamel.

By the 1800s, dentists were using in-office bleaching of non-vital teeth that had become discolored due to trauma or other issues.

Then in the 1960s, when dentists began using a form of hydrogen peroxide as an antiseptic gel to treat the gums, they discovered that it also removed tooth stains. Today, peroxide is used in a variety of products from toothpastes to gels and everything in between, giving people a variety of ways to whiten their teeth.

Ask Dr. Angell about the many options we offer for a brighter, whiter smile. They include tooth whitening, veneers, porcelain crowns and white fillings.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

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