Teeth whitening is one of the most common dental procedures performed today, but it’s not just a recent phenomenon. Its roots actually go back thousands of years! Let’s take a whirlwind tour through the history of teeth whitening and see how we got to where we are today.
Ancient Egyptians created a paste from ground pumice stone and wine vinegar to whiten their teeth. During this period, whiter teeth was linked to wealth and status.
This may seem a bit shocking, but records show that ancient Romans used urine to bleach their teeth (urine contains the bleaching agent ammonia!).
During the 12th century, physicians suggested that people whiten their teeth with various pastes and powders, such as a sage and salt rub.
Back when folks went to barbers for their dental needs, the barbers would file down teeth, making them a bit abrasive, and then apply a powerful nitric acid to whiten them. Unfortunately, this also meant severely damaging the enamel.
In the beginning of the 19th century, the dental use of hydrogen peroxide, along with fluoride, became more popular.
Teeth whitening practices made a few strides in the 20th century. First, dentists in 1918 found that using a heating lamp along with hydrogen peroxide would accelerate the process. Then, in the 1960’s, dental professionals found that allowing teeth to soak in peroxide overnight led to whiter results. Finally, opalescence carbamide peroxide, a type of whitening gel, was patented in the late 1980’s, and it remains the basic teeth whitening technique used to this day.
Modern Teeth Whitening
Fortunately, teeth whitening has come a long way since its early days, and now you have more options than ever to get a beautiful white smile. From take-home to in-office options, modern dental patients can choose a teeth whitening method that suits their budget and lifestyle. At Stratman Family Dentistry, we offer both types. If you’d like to learn more or are ready to book your teeth whitening appointment, contact our Tucson dental office today!