With news of Amazon removing this whitening product from their website, we at KöR Whitening expect to get some calls from customers and consumers regarding the recent story in the news. There has been some hoopla in the news lately about Amazon having removed the top-selling teeth whitening kit called, “Harvey & Coco’s Smile Rehab Teeth Whitening Kit”. Amazon removed this product from their site because it contains an ingredient that has been banned throughout the European Union.
Though most of the articles and news videos do not specifically state what product it is in the whitening gel that was banned in the EU, that ingredient is sodium perborate, and indeed it is banned in the EU. However, it is not banned in the USA.
What is sodium perborate?
- Sodium perborate is a chemical that will, when mixed with water, somewhat slowly break down, giving off active hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide then breaks down to oxygen, and also the ions that lighten, brighten and whiten many types of materials, which Dr. Rod Kurthy has termed “bleaching factors”.
- It is typically used in laundry detergents, cleaning products and laundry bleaches. Though it has some toxicity when swallowed, it is far less toxic than chlorine bleach used when cleaning household surfaces and laundry. Sodium perborate even causes less fading of bright colors of your clothes than normal chlorine bleach.
In the European Union, sodium perborate, like most borates, was classified as “carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction” (CMR). In other words, in animal scientific studies, it was shown to cause cancer, as well as causing developmental deformities and other toxic problems for the fetus during pregnancy.
In Dr. Kurthy’s personal opinion, this is absolutely a concern. Notice in the image above, when you look at the LaserCoco device that fits over the teeth, in no way could this even come close to creating a seal of the whitening gel. Unlike professional whitening systems, where whitening trays are made to custom-fit the patient’s teeth, this LaserCoco mouth device is wide-open. Just imagine how much of the whitening gel you will swallow over the 20-minute wearing period EACH TIME you use it. Our guess is that you’ll swallow at least 90% of the gel. That’s a LOT of toxic chemical ingested. Yet on their website, this company insists their product is safe.
Sadly, as with most of the OTC whitening products out there, it outwardly appears that this company is all about gimmickry, hype and obvious deception.
- You can see in the graphic above where they lead the consumer to believe that the little handheld light (LaserCoco) is a “laser” – it is NOT a laser. It’s simply an LED light. On their website they even call this handheld contraption the, “LazerCoco® LED laser.”
- On their own website, they state regarding the LaserCoco “laser”, “The 6 x 460 nanometer LED bulbs in the light literally SUPERCHARGE the whitening gel into action…”. Of course, at KöR Whitening, we know that this is virtually impossible. The chemical breakdown of hydrogen peroxide to bleaching factors that whiten teeth is an “exothermic” chemical reaction, which means that the reaction MUST GET RID of energy to proceed. You can’t change the laws of physics or chemistry. According to Le Chatelier’s Principle of Chemical Equilibrium, if you try to force energy (such as photon energy from a light or laser) into an exothermic reaction, it will actually interfere with the reaction instead of “supercharging” the reaction like this company claims. Simply more hyperbole and deception.
- To appeal to the holistic crowd (most likely to increase sales), they claim their whitening gel to be “Non-Peroxide Teeth Whitening Gel”. This is pretty much as deceptive as you can get. The sodium perborate breaks down to hydrogen peroxide. It is the hydrogen peroxide that whitens the teeth.
Are there legitimate uses of sodium perborate in the mouth that are considered by the scientific community to be safe? Yes. Sodium perborate is often used in what is referred to as internal bleaching.
Often when a front tooth is traumatized, or otherwise requires root canal treatment, the tooth later darkens significantly compared to the surrounding healthy teeth. One accepted method of treatment of the single tooth discoloration is what is referred to as “internal bleaching”.
- The dentist drills into the discolored tooth from the back side of the tooth, where the tooth was previously worked on to perform the root canal.
- Once inside the very tiny root canal chamber inside the tooth, the dentist then places a very, very tiny bit of whitening product into the root canal chamber. The dentist then seals over the top of the chamber to seal the whitening product inside the tooth. This particular technique is called, “the “Walking Bleach” technique” – because the patient walks around for the next week with the tiny bit of whitening product sealed inside the tooth.
- Over the following week, the whitening product breaks down, giving off bleaching factors that enter the discolored tooth from the inside, more effectively lightening the single darkened tooth.
- However, most regular whitening products such as carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide break down faster than we would like. Once they’ve fully broken down and given off the bleaching factors, the whitening process stops. Most dentists and dental scientists agree that it is better to have a whitening product that breaks down much more slowly, so that whitening can take place for most of the entire week between dental visits.
- Sodium perborate breaks down significantly slower than other types of whitening products, so often a very tiny bit of sodium perborate is used to seal inside the tooth by the dentist. It is believed that using sodium perborate is safer and more effective precisely because of the slower breakdown to hydrogen peroxide.
- Obviously, it is important for effectiveness of internal bleaching, as well as for safety, that the dentist does a good job of truly “sealing” the whitening product inside the tooth so it cannot escape into the mouth.
Evolve Dental Technologies and Dr. Rod Kurthy, the makers of the KöR® Whitening System, do not sell any products containing sodium perborate. However, Dr. Kurthy has written suggested instructions to be followed by dentists when performing internal bleaching procedures. One of the internal bleaching options discussed by Dr. Kurthy is the use of sodium perborate when performing the internal “Walking Bleach” technique.
He also discusses and thoroughly describes the importance and proper technique to be used to create an entirely predictable seal over the root canal chamber to prevent saliva from entering the chamber, as well as preventing the escape of any of the tiny bit of whitening product that was placed in the chamber.