Dangers of Unregulated Teeth Whitening Products and Services
As 3 in 10 of us do not like our smiles and are looking for brighter, whiter teeth, the demand for teeth whitening products and services are on the rise. This post is intended to help patients considering teeth whitening services or home bleaching kits to not fall victim to dangerous teeth whitening products.
In a recent episode of the BBC’s Fake Britain, there was an investigation into unregulated/illegal tooth whitening/home bleaching products and services. This is becoming more and more common – not just locally in Kingston, London or Surrey, but in the whole of the UK. The episode revealed Fake Britain’s investigation into illegal teeth whitening products being sold all over the UK, and the serious harm which these products cause. These fake teeth whitening products were sold in local markets, salons and shopping centres.
Fake Britain’s investigation found that some of the unregulated teeth whitening products available have up to 110 times the legal limit of hydrogen peroxide. Some illegal tooth whitening products can also contain a carcinogenic substance named sodium perborate, and others may have so much acid in them that they can dissolve the enamel (the outermost, protective layer) on the tooth surface.
The illegal tooth whitening kits use false advertising, including statements such as “See results from day 1”, “Safe to use” and “Recommended by dentists”, and have lured consumers into using these illegal products.
Fake Britain showed victims who had been instructed to use these tooth whitening kits overnight at home, and who then experienced the dangerous effects of such unregulated tooth whitening products.
Symptoms of these illegal teeth whitening/home bleaching kits can include, but are not limited to:
- Burning gums
- Sore lips
- Dissolving enamel on your teeth
Legally, Teeth whitening products sold on the high street can have just 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide (the active ingredient in the bleach used to whiten teeth). Anything stronger than this must be prescribed by a qualified dentist (who can prescribe up to 6% hydrogen peroxide), hygienist or dental therapist working under a dentist’s prescription.
It should be remembered that teeth whitening is considered a medical procedure and if carried out incorrectly, or using illegal and unregulated teeth whitening kits, can cause irreparable damage to teeth and gums.
Trading Standards confiscated the illegal products that were featured on this episode of Fake Britain, but there are still many similar products out there which are available to buy all over the UK.
Also on this episode of Fake Britain: Fake Dentists
It is not only fake teeth whitening products to be wary of, but also fake dental professionals who provide laser bleaching/laser teeth whitening treatment. There have been reports of fake dentists carrying out illegal tooth whitening procedures on patients and causing serious harm.
Teeth whitening is not only a cosmetic procedure, but is a part of dentistry. Therefore, only a qualified and registered dental professional can legally carry out the treatment. They have been properly trained to assess the mouth properly, and carry out the procedure safely and effectively.
Advice about tooth whitening products and procedures:
- Always go to a qualified dental health care professional for tooth whitening – buying a teeth whitening product from anyone that is not qualified is illegal.
- If you think that someone selling these products is not qualified, or are posing as Dentist then you can check their GDC number on the General Dental Council’s website.
- If the whitening product or procedure is too cheap then do some further research, and seek advice from a qualified dentist – most of the fake products have been sold at a much lower price than those products from a dental practice.
- Check that the qualified dental health professional has had a recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and read their report to ensure that the care they offer meets the CQC’s standards
- Fake and unregulated products and procedures are being sold at supermarkets, beauty salons and shopping centres – Most of these sellers will be not be qualified!
- It is very important the health of your teeth and gums are assessed before any tooth whitening procedures are carried – not everyone is suitable, and it is advisable your mouth is dentally fit prior to treatment.
If you would like to get a brighter, whiter smile, and are considering whitening your teeth, please do not fall victim to these cheap, unregulated and illegal products which are sold on the high street – please contact Thames Street Dental, a Kingston Dentist, and book an assessment for your home teeth whitening kit.
You can see the GDC pages for our dentists at the below links:
GDC registration information about other Dentists at the practice on their individual profile pages, which can be found via the Meet the Team page.