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Harmful tooth-whitening could leave millions of teeth at risk

Fri

Around 20 million people in the UK are leaving themselves open to potentially harmful tooth-whitening procedures by visiting providers who are not trained to carry out quality treatments, or purchasing home whitening kits over the internet. Experts recommend that only dental professionals carry out this sort of treatment.

A new survey has revealed that one in four people would chose staff at a beauty kiosk or a beauticians, rather than going to a dental clinic for the procedure – the same proportion of those asked were also under the impression that beauticians have the right qualifications to carry out tooth whitening, which is actually illegal as of October 31st last year. Under the European Council directive, whitening products that contain between 0.1% and 6% hydrogen peroxide can only be sold or used by registered dental professionals.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Foundation said that ‘There is no doubt tooth whitening is becoming more popular due to the sheer number of places you can now have it done. There is also no doubt a vast number of these are operating illegally and pose a significant health risk.’ He also added that beauticians and kiosk workers do not have ‘the correct training, qualifications or the expertise required’ and the poor quality products used could leave the patient with permanently damaged teeth. Finally, he urged consumers to get in touch with the National Dental Helpline to get answers to any questions they might have, saying ‘If you are considering getting your teeth whitened, there are now clear guidelines for everyone to follow when it comes to the procedure. It must be done in a dental practice.’

British Dental Health Foundation welcomes change to laws on tooth whitening

Tue

A new law has been passed to make it safer for consumers to undergo teeth whitening treatments, putting an end to illegal practitioners and untrained individuals providing similar services. The British Dental Health Foundation has welcomed the news that the European Council has ruled that whitening products containing or releasing between 0.1 and 6 per cent hydrogen peroxide can only be sold to a registered dental professional working from a clinic or surgery. This ruling should make the treatment process much more effective and improve safety standards substantially.

Dr Nigel Carter of the British Dental Health Foundation says that any type of bleaching carried out by beauticians could be dangerous to the health of the patient, adding that the procedure is often performed by individuals with no formal qualifications. The whitening gels used could also contain a much higher level of hydrogen peroxide, which can be bad for the teeth.

Dr Carter added that the treatments ‘may be cheaper but this comes at a real risk and a possibility of permanent damage to teeth and gums. Under the new law, our safety will no longer be jeopardised by illegal tooth whitening that can often leave lasting damage. By firmly outlawing tooth-whitening treatments carried out in beauty salons and whitening kiosks, we are no longer left confused by who can carry out the procedure. If you want your teeth whitened, you must now visit a dental practice.’

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