After years of eating and drinking dark and highly pigmented foods and beverages, you may notice that your teeth are starting to look discolored. Teeth whitening is a treatment that can lift stains from your pearly whites to make your smile look brighter. Though it is a great way to improve the look of your smile, this popular cosmetic treatment has changed a lot over the years. Read on to learn about the history of teeth whitening and how it’s evolved
Ancient Egyptians cared heavily about the beauty of the human profile. They considered having a white smile to be linked to wealth and masculinity. To achieve this, pharaohs made toothpaste using volcanic rock, wine vinegar, and ground oxen hooves. Though this mixture successfully whitened their smiles, it was also highly acidic and abrasive. This resulted in severe enamel damage and other oral health issues in the future.
In ancient Rome, people are said to have used chewing sticks to clean their teeth. There is also evidence to suggest that ancient Romans used both animal and human urine to brush their dentures. Since urine contains ammonia, this method was actually effective at whitening their restorations. Even so, it certainly wasn’t the most hygienic way to go about this.
Nomads in ancient Europe used acid to clean their teeth before filing them down. This method could have made their teeth look better, but it was unpleasant to undergo and did some serious structural damage to their enamel. As a result, those who underwent this treatment were much more likely to develop oral health issues like cavities and increased sensitivity.
Modern Day Teeth Whitening
In 1884, peroxide was used for the first time to whiten teeth. In 1918, it was discovered that hydrogen peroxide yielded better results when used along with a heated lamp. For the next 40 years, this method became the standard. At least, that was true until an orthodontist named Dr. Bill Klusmier and a group of dentists changed teeth whitening forever in the 1960s.
While testing out Gly-Oxide to see how effective it would be at treating mouth sores, this antiseptic oral cleanser was accidentally discovered to be an effective teeth whitener. When soaking one’s teeth in Gly-Oxide overnight, dentists were surprised to learn that it made them noticeably lighter. This is because this product is made from hydrogen peroxide and urea. It also contains 10% carbamide peroxide. All of these ingredients have since been discovered to whiten teeth. Bleaching trays were later paired with this accidental discovery, which became one of the most common methods of whitening one’s smile.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways that teeth whitening has changed. With modern technology and products, professional whitening is now an excellent way to improve the look of your smile quickly and with amazing results!
About the Author
Dr. Jodie B. Meadvin leads the team at Meadvin Dental. They enjoy offering a range of exceptional oral health care services to patients in the Cherry Hill area. This includes cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening to improve the look of your smile and help you feel more confident in your beam. Visit Meadvin Dental’s website or call their office at (856) 428-8822 to learn more about their teeth whitening services or to schedule an appointment.