Overbleaching becoming an epidemic?

The quest for a perfect smile is leading many people to go overboard when it comes to teeth whitening, according to a recent Los Angeles Daily News story.

"Calling it 'bleachorexia,' dentists say more and more people are coming in with unrealistic expectations for their teeth, wanting pearly whites that are several shades lighter than what's natural," the paper reported.

This obsession can lead to aesthetic problems, tooth sensitivity, and gum inflammation, the story stated. It can also cause teeth to look translucent at the edge.

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, teeth whitening is currently the most requested cosmetic dental service. In 2006, the dental industry reported $138.8 million in revenue from teeth-whitening procedures alone. In the fiscal year ending June 15, Americans spent more than $200 million on whitening strips, brightening toothpastes, and bleaching gels, according to Chicago-based Information Resources.

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