In case you haven’t heard of phthalimido peroxy caproic acid (PAP), it’s a synthetic organic acid that initiates whitening. It’s recently gained popularity as an alternative to peroxide teeth whitening.
If you’ve ever tried whitening with peroxide products, it’s no secret that they can burn your gums and make your teeth feel extremely sensitive. Isn’t there a better way to achieve a bright smile?
That’s exactly what PAP aims to do. Although it’s a new ingredient that hasn’t been widely tested nor FDA-approved, the few tests that have been conducted on PAP show promising results in terms of safety and effectiveness.
But with any new emerging product, there are always naysayers out there. So we’ve decided to sit down and go and challenge four famous rumors about PAP teeth whitening. Keep in mind that these myth-busting discussions are not opinion-based, they’re backed by fact.
myth 1: PAP whitening may damage your enamel
After just a few minutes of Googling, “does PAP damage your enamel,” you’ll find many (pro-peroxide) companies claiming that PAP etches the enamel or lowers your tooth’s microhardness.
However, it’s important to note that the study that reveals enamel etching from PAP involves a PAP whitening product that also contains citric acid, an ingredient that’s known to wear down enamel. The study’s conclusion states, “It would be especially prudent to look at the effect of OTC products not containing citric acid.”
On top of this, you’ll find other studies that confirm PAP is safe and does not harm your enamel.
- “A Radical-Free Approach to Teeth Whitening” concludes, “These laboratory results support the safety and effectiveness of this new PAP formula and its use as an alternative to CP and HP with superior safety and effectiveness.”
- “A bio-safety tooth-whitening composite gels with novel phthalimide peroxy caproic acid” concludes that PAP had a smaller (non-noticeable) effect on bovine tooth surface hardness than HP.
While the science may still be limited, PAP shows promising results in terms of safety and efficacy. Other studies have shown that long-term use of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide can significantly decrease the surface hardness of your teeth.
myth 2: PAP whitening is less effective than hydrogen peroxide
When it comes to teeth whitening, we actually want the whitening to...well, whiten! We understand how good it can feel to achieve a bright white smile.
So, that poses the question, is PAP as effective at teeth whitening as the famous hydrogen peroxide? Some pro-peroxide companies will say no, but the science says yes! This 2017 study reveals a single use of PAP yields significant initial whitening.
On top of this, scientists explain that the effectiveness of teeth whitening products depends on various factors, including the concentration of the whitening agent, the pH of the product, application duration and method (tray vs. strip), additives, and added remineralizing agents (such as nano-hydroxyapatite).
Therefore, to say that PAP is less effective than hydrogen peroxide is simply not accurate or supported by science.
myth 3: PAP is banned in other countries
You might be surprised to find out that hydrogen peroxide is the ingredient that’s banned in other countries. Yes, the most popular, FDA-approved teeth whitening ingredient has several restrictions around the world.
- In the EU, over-the-counter teeth whitening products can only contain up to 0.1% hydrogen peroxide.
- In Japan, hydrogen peroxide is considered unsafe for human use, so it’s banned from all cosmetic products.
- In Canada, they’ve restricted the concentration, use, and/or manufacturing of hydrogen peroxide.
PAP, on the other hand, is not subject to such restrictions. While it is not yet approved by the FDA (they are not quick to act on new ingredients for methods that have been around for a long time, take fluoride as an example), other countries do not feel the need to restrict PAP teeth whitening the way they restrict hydrogen peroxide.
myth 4: PAP causes tooth sensitivity
Research shows that the opposite is true: PAP does not cause sensitivity, enamel demineralization, or gum irritation. As mentioned above, PAP (alone) has not been shown to cause enamel damage, which would lead to sensitive teeth.
Peroxides, on the other hand, are known to release free radicals as they whiten. These free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause damage to your cells and tissue (such as your enamel, gums, and the soft lining of your mouth). This is why you might experience pain, sensitivity, and inflammation after you whiten your teeth with peroxide.
It’s also important to note that PAP+ is PAP fortified with nano-hydroxyapatite, which works to strengthen and fortify your enamel. The use of nano-hydroxyapatite in tandem with PAP can further protect your enamel and prevent tooth sensitivity.
Speaking of nano-hydroxyapatite, our very own sensitive+whitening hydroxyapatite toothpaste has been shown to remineralize your enamel and relieve tooth sensitivity in as little as two weeks. Our third-party lab results show that it outperformed leading sensitive toothpastes, plugging exposed tubules in the enamel better than its competitors.
Give it a try! We recommend it for daily use, especially if you’re planning to try a new PAP whitening routine.