Who Invented Teeth Whitening?

added on: October 3, 2019


teeth whitening history


As strange as it sounds, teeth whitening isn’t a 21st-century invention. People have been trying to clean and whiten their teeth for a long, long time. Before they even had toothbrushes or toothpaste, ancient Egyptians used to chew on small twigs in an effort to remove food particles from their teeth. In retrospect, chewing on twigs probably did more harm than good but at least they were trying, right?

Some of the other teeth whitening methods post-ancient-Egypt weren’t much better. In the 17th century, barbers (yes, the people who cut hair) would file down their customers’ teeth and soak them in an acid. The acid was supposed to whiten the enamel but in reality, it just destroyed it.

It really wasn’t until the 20th century that people started to pay closer attention to the color of their teeth. Society’s interest in beauty sky-rocketed in the 1980s, encouraging new cosmetic dentistry methods and technologies. Dentists discovered (on accident) that, when left on teeth long enough, peroxide could act as a whitening agent. Originally, dentists used peroxide as an antiseptic but by the end of the 1980s, it was the most popular teeth whitening product on the market.

Modern tooth whitening

From there, teeth whitening really took off. Today, there are thousands of teeth whitening treatments and products available. While most people assume they can radically change their tooth color in the comfort of their own home, most teeth whitening products that you can buy at Target are just short of a scam. The best thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy and white is to go to the dentist to get your teeth professionally cleaned.

If, after your cleaning, you’re still unhappy with the shade of your teeth, we recommend looking into either Zoom! or KöR whitening. Both of these in-office whitening methods use stronger chemicals and lights than the products you see on Facebook or Instagram. Patients who use KöR typically see a shade change of around ten to sixteen shades!