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Bleachorexia, the Latest Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Approximately one percent of Americans suffer from mental illnesses categorized as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). The condition is marked by an individual being obsessive about their body image and not being able to clearly see what others see regarding their appearance. The disease manifests itself in a number of forms including eating disorders (such as bulimia or anorexia), undergoing excessive plastic surgery or repeatedly undergoing cosmetic dentistry in order to get perfect looking white teeth. Unfortunately, for those afflicted with the condition will not clearly gauge their appearance and those obsessed with cosmetic dentistry may abuse teeth whitening and increase the odds of developing dental problems.

According to the television program “Good Morning America,” those who constantly undergo teeth whitening to counteract insecurities regarding teeth and tooth stains and tooth discoloration that may or may not be present are now being called “bleachorexics.” The term is being used to indicate the severity of the addiction as the bleaching junkies either undergo numerous teeth bleaching procedures delivered by professional dentists or opted to get their fix courtesy of the numerous DIY tooth whitening kits available at pharmacies across the nation. Regardless of the nick name for the behavior, it appears to be a real condition that needs to be address by a mental care professional prior to getting any dental care.

How To Know If You are a Bleachorexic

Although there are billions of people in the world, the American media constantly bombards the public with the images of the same Hollywood celebrities featuring gorgeous smiles. That imagery can certainly spark an interest in cosmetic dentistry including tooth bleaching, dental bonding or dental veneers in order to get a while smile. However, those suffering from body dysmorphic disorder will not really notice the changes, but the perceived imperfections the dental treatments may unearth. If you have recently undergone costly dental procedures in order to revamp your mouth and your dentist has mentioned you are in perfect dental health friends and family have told you how great your smile looks but you want to get more dental work done, there may be a chance you are not seeing the forest for the trees.

If your dentist has been telling you there is nothing more there can be done to improve your smile and has refused to provide you with any more teeth whitening procedures besides your demands, it may be time to seek the professional advice within the medical industry. BDD can be triggered by a number of causes that are either biological, psychological or environmental. A visit to a general practitioner and an open dialogue can help pinpoint the root of the problem and help an afflicted individual find the right type of doctor to address the condition.

Dental Problems Associated with Over-Bleaching

While those labeled as a bleachorexic may be able to look at a person suffering from anorexia or who has undergone way too many plastic surgeries and state “they have a problem,” they may not be able to acknowledge their own shortcomings. Denial of a problem is only one way bleachorexics can ignore the issue, but they should not as the reality is, too much teeth bleaching can cause major dental problems.

The chemicals used in the tooth bleaching process are extremely strong and overtime, abuse of the dental treatment can cause permanent tooth erosion to dental enamel. The reason, peroxide (a common ingredient on tooth whiting treatments) releases carcinogenic free radicals. Those will destroy healthy oral bacteria, make enamel more porous and result in side effects including tooth sensitivity, teeth looking oddly translucent or even more yellow (as the enamel is what covers naturally yellow dentin) or excessive tooth decay and crumbling. According to experts, 10 to 65 of all teeth bleaching experiences result in some type of discomfort from (Yahoo.com). for bleachorexics, the damage may be irreversible.

How to Prevent Over Bleaching

If after seeking professional help for a potential BDD condition and being fully cleared by a doctor, individuals should still take precautions to pace their teeth bleaching habit in order to minimize the risks. The process is as simple as limiting bleaching (either professional or DIY) to once every three months. After the lightening process individuals should rinse their mouths with clean, fresh water. Finally, individuals are encouraged to use gentle non-abrasive toothpastes, some of which can help rebuild tooth enamel.

Prior to any teeth whitening procedure, individuals are encouraged to ensure their dental health is on track as teeth bleaching as regardless to how white teeth can get, oral health must be a top priority. Those looking to find a dentist both for professional dental care and cosmetic dentistry simply need to call 0900-DENTIST.

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