Tooth whitening, oxidation or reduction? Study of physicochemical alterations in bovine enamel using Synchrotron based Micro-FTIR

Maria Jesús Sánchez-Martín*, Clara Babot-Marquillas, Jose Manuel Amigo, Ibraheem Yousef, Iris H.Valido, Roberto Boada, Manuel Valiente

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To compare the side effects of typical whitening treatments (by means of oxidation) compared to the new treatment developed by the authors through reduction. The aim is to provide information about the chemical interactions of the encapsulated reductant agent (metabisulfite, MBS) with the enamel structure compared with carbamide peroxide (CP) and to study their penetration in the hydroxyapatite (HAP) and the changes produced in the mineral and its hardness. Methods: Chemical imaging is performed by synchrotron-based micro Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (SR-µFTIR). Continuous Stiffness Measurements (CSM) were used to determine the depth reached by the treatments in order to delimitate the area of study. Results: The SR-µFTIR studies showed that MBS treatments softened the first 10 µm of enamel, as happens in the initial stages of tooth decay. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the main differences between treatments were found in the intensity of the ν3 PO43- peak related to tooth demineralization. CP and MBS promoted different changes in the HAP mineral, observed as opposite shifts of the peak: CP shortened the P-O bond while MBS seemed to elongate it. Moreover, MBS promoted the loss of carbonates while CP did not, which is probably related to the solution's pH. When comparing MBS and MBS Liposomes, it was observed how liposomes favoured the diffusion of MBS to inner layers, since the effects of MBS were observed in deeper enamel. Thus, the encapsulated MBS whitening effect is highly improved in terms of time when compared to MBS alone or CP. Significance: The obtained results indicated that using oxidizing (CP) or reducing (MBS) treatments, promote different HAP mineral changes, and that liposomes favour the diffusion of MBS into the enamel. It is the first time that synchrotron light is used to map the bovine incisor's enamel chemically, and to determine the effect of a whitening treatment in terms of chemical HAP modifications, and the extent in deep of these effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-679
Number of pages10
JournalDental Materials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Liposomes
  • MicroFTIR
  • PCA
  • Sodium metabisulphite
  • Synchrotron
  • Tooth whitening


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