Can Tanning Beds Whiten Your Teeth?

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Tanning beds are controversial in many circles. Yes, they definitely carry health risks. But can you name anything that doesn’t carry any health risks? Didn’t think so. We all need to choose our risk level, that’s just the reality of it.

But, while tanning salons are a sought-after option to darken your skin, it leaves us wondering: do tanning beds whiten teeth? Well, tanning beds have many pros and cons to them, so below, we are going to take a look at what impact UV light has on your body and your teeth.

Let’s take a look.


Do Tanning Beds Whiten Teeth?

The thing about UV tanning bed bulbs is that they don’t just affect your skin. They also impact the color of your teeth. But often your teeth will simply appear whiter because your skin is more tanned and darker in relation to your teeth. Your teeth aren’t actually any whiter.

But often your teeth will simply appear whiter because your skin is more tanned and darker in relation to your teeth. Your teeth aren’t actually any whiter.

Similarly to how light causes a skin reaction which causes it to change color, light can accelerate the reaction in tooth enamel which whitens teeth.

But to whiten teeth, light needs to be paired with a whitening agent such as hydrogen peroxide gel.

Light can’t cause whitening, but it can accelerate the oxygenation process of the peroxide, which can erase any discoloration on the teeth.


UV Light and Its Effect on Tanning

It is vital to understand the effects that UVA and UVB light has on our skin so you can understand how exactly a tanning bed works.

UVB light penetrates the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin. This causes irritation and sunburns. UVA light sinks into the deeper layers of your skin, triggering the cells to make melanin.

Melanin is what causes your skin, eyes, and hair to have color. When your skin has exposure to UVA light – irrelevant of the source – it continues to trigger the melanin production in your skin for up to 48 hours. UVA light is what is traditionally found in a tanning bed, but some beds use both UVA and UVB bulbs. See What’s The Difference Between A Tanning Bed And A Bronzing Bed for more.

Now, while melanin production is good, the process is not without risks. 

The UV light used in tanning beds has been found to increase your risk of aging prematurely, causing skin damage, sunspots, and wrinkles.

It has also been shown to increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Tanning bed use can increase your risk of melanoma by 20%, a scary 29% for basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma by a shocking 67%.

Not good.

Tanning bed use can increase your risk of melanoma by 20%, a scary 29% for basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma by a shocking 67%.

It is important to note that there is no perfectly safe way to tan your skin (though it seems sunlight is best) because all light exposure carries the risk of skin cancer.

However, tanning beds have an increased risk because of the light concentration and how close your body is to the light with almost no protection. The base tan you’ll get is only something on the order of an SPF-3 and doesn’t provide much protection.


Is Using a Tanning Bed Worth It?

Tanning beds are definitely something that can assist you in getting a beautiful bronze color without needing to hit the beach. But there are downsides, and spray tans and self-tanners are definitely much safer.

If you have chosen a tanning bed in the hopes that your teeth will also get whiter, you may be barking up the wrong tree.

Other types of light, such as LED light, can speed up the chemical reaction from the hydrogen peroxide to break up any discoloration you may have on your teeth.

So if you want a safe and easy way to have a bright, white, radiant smile for your summer vacation, it is better to undergo teeth whitening at your local dentist.

So if you want a safe and easy way to have a bright, white, radiant smile for your summer vacation, it is better to undergo teeth whitening at your local dentist.


Conclusion

Tanning beds are a popular option for getting a summer tan before summer has arrived. But some people believe tanning beds can also whiten your teeth. As you can see above, this is not the case (unless you plan on putting hydrogen peroxide on your teeth before spending time in the tanning bed).

Remember that there are many risks associated with using a tanning bed, particularly with repeated use, and you should consider other options for tanning.

Written by Kayla Young

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