Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Gayle McCombs

Committee Member

Sharon Stull

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 S27 2007


The primary purpose of this study was to determine if tooth whitening product use influences oral health interests and values in an adult population. A two-group, randomized, pre-test, multiple post-test design was used for studying 60 adults between the ages of 18 and 60. Persons who use tobacco products, have composite/tooth-colored anterior restorations, less than eight anterior teeth, pregnant or lactating women, or those who have previously used a whitening product other than toothpaste were excluded from the study. At baseline, a researcher-designed Oral Health Questionnaire was administered to consenting adults to determine the level of oral health interests and values. A three-week, twice daily whitening strip regimen was administered to 30 randomized participants; the remaining 30 participants received no whitening treatment for the same three-week period. All individuals were instructed to use the same toothpaste, toothbrush and floss, and brush twice daily for two minutes at each brushing session. The questionnaire was re-administered at two and four-weeks after baseline to determine change in individuals' oral health interests and values. Useable data were collected from 50 adults, 22 adults who received whitening treatment and 28 adults who received no treatment. The Wald-Chi Squared test at p=.05 was used to determine relationships between tooth color and various oral health interests and values. Results showed that both the whitening and non-whitening groups experienced a significant increase in their oral health interests from baseline to four weeks. Those in the experimental group who found their teeth lighter in shade had more interest in their overall oral health than those whose tooth shade did not change. An increase in participants' oral health interest and value occurred; however, both the experimental and control groups' interests and values increased at the same rate. Only the experimental group had a significant change in their oral health values after improvement in their tooth color. As tooth color lightened, oral health values increased. Results also revealed a link between whiter teeth and an increase in the value and interest one might place on their oral health. More research is needed before vital tooth whitening can be viewed as a therapeutic procedure.


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