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April 28, 2008

Tooth Whitening and How to Find Out About It

We received a comment on this blog today.

"Found this website, when I was looking for tooth whitening dentists (albeit a cheap one). But my question is really do the tooth whitening thing works. Can get that hollywood smile."

This is a very common question these days, one that concerns a lot of folk. Now, since we're librarians and not dentists, I am going to talk mostly about how one could search for this topic of interest, just highlighting a few interesting tools and techniques.

Most folks would start with Google. The question is what would you search for? Whiter teeth? Hollywood smile? Teeth whiteners? Tooth whitening? One of the hardest parts of any question is the time spent finding the right lingo to get at the answer you really want. In this case, it turns out that the phrase used by most of the professional sites in "tooth whitening" or "teeth whitening". Using either of those two in Google will take you to this page by the American Dental Association.

Oral Health Topics: Tooth Whitening Treatments:

This is good stuff. A nice tight overview that touches on the most important issues. What if it isn't quite what you wanted to know? If you wanted to know a little more, or a different level of information?

One nifty search engine for getting deeper into the medical internet is MedStory.

MedStory: Tooth Whitening

MedStory: Tooth Whitening: http://www.medstory.com/app?service=external&page=Search

In MedStory you can zip right in to good info by doing your search, clicking on the research tab, and then click on research articles. Good stuff, right off the bat, really easily.

Now, if you REALLY want the BEST information, you are going to look for systematic reviews on a topic. There are a few good ways to do this. One is to go to Cochrane, the gods of systematic reviews. Another way is to go to PubMed, and search your topic with systematic review.

If you go to Cochrane.org, navigate to the Oral Health group and look for toothe whitening, you will find this.

Cochrane: Oral Health Group: http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/topics/84_reviews.html

Hasson H, Ismail AI, Neiva G. Home-based chemically-induced whitening of teeth in adults. http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab006202.html

If you go to Pubmed, to find systematic reviews, go to the bluebar on the left side, click on Clinical Queries, scroll down the screen to Systematic Reviews, and then add you search your topic. If you do that, you'll find this.

Hasson H, Ismail AI, Neiva G. Home-based chemically-induced whitening of teeth in adults. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=D

Assuming this is the best article on the topic (which it is, in my personal humble opinion), you can read the abstract and find that the evidence is not yet clear on this topic. It seems to work most of the time, but often causes pain to the teeth and gums. But don't trust me, go read the article. :)

Posted by pfa at April 28, 2008 08:08 PM


MedStory is really useful. I found "Conditions" and "Personal Health" especially exact and timely. They show exactly what I want to find. Think it will be great source after "beta" vanish.

Posted by: Alex@worldental.org at April 30, 2008 05:36 PM

Thanks for the comment! There are a lot of special features in MedStory. It is worth taking the time to dig through and explore the various options. I particularly like how it give you a framework and language for your search topic, and if it is a new topic, it helps you better understand what you are looking for and what you can ask to be more specific.

Posted by: pfa at April 30, 2008 06:51 PM

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