Sales of over-the-counter tooth whiteners have tripled since 2001. The problem is many people are becoming addicted to whitening their teeth. Dentists say misuse of whitening products can lead to gum damage, severe sensitivity or a bluish, translucent discoloration on the edges of the teeth.
Dentists say the latter result may be irreversible. Dr. Eby in Okemos says the best and safest way to get whiter teeth is with professional cleaning by your dentist.
The American Dental Association recommends people also ask their dentist about professional cleaning or use an approved whitening toothpaste.
When used appropriately and in moderation, other dentists say over-the-counter tooth whiteners are safe.