Tooth-whitening treatments that use peroxide to break down enamel stains are not allowed to be used on patients under the age of eighteen in Ireland, according to new rules from the EU. Fears have been growing recently that youngsters are damaging their teeth by undergoing this type of treatment in their teens.
Although the actual health risks are the same for older people, Dr Tom Feeney – of the Irish Dental Association – explains that under-eighteens have ‘younger gums and younger pores’, adding that ‘Hydrogen Peroxide can be very corrosive and too much of an irritant for young people. Some products that have been used for teeth whitening have up to thirty-five per cent food grade hydrogen peroxide, which can be very dangerous.’
Products on the market have also been restricted, so that consumers can only purchase whitening solution containing 0.1 per cent of the chemical. However, the IDA have warned that there are some products available online that have high levels of peroxide and can be very damaging to the teeth, so consumers need to be careful what they buy; taking advise from a dentist and getting the treatment done professionally is the best way to get positive results with a reduced risk factor.
It is thought that the new rules will make it safer for patients to undergo whitening treatment, as Dr Feeney explains ‘If someone wants to have their teeth whitened they will have to have a clinical exam and first treatment by a dentist.’