With the sun out and a summer spent at home highly likely, many of us are looking for feel-good personal treatments to perk us up and what better than teeth whitening to give you a lift? However, a recent investigation by Which? has highlighted the dangers of buying illegal tooth whitening products online.
Which? tested thirty-six home teeth whitening kits available online in the UK, including whitening strips, gel-filled syringes and pens with brush tips. Twenty-one of these exceeded the legal limit for the percentage of hydrogen peroxide permitted by UK law.
Hydrogen peroxide is the chemical that bleaches teeth and is only considered safe in the UK at levels below 6%, and only when treatment is given under the supervision of a dentist, registered with the General Dental Council (GDC). The legal limit for ‘over-the-counter’ whitening products, i.e. those products you can buy without a prescription from a dentist, is 0.1%.
Twenty-one of the products Which? purchased contained over 0.1% hydrogen peroxide and eleven of them contained over 6%. Shockingly, twenty contained more than ten times too much hydrogen peroxide, and the six most dangerous had more than 100 times too much hydrogen peroxide to be legally sold – the highest contained 30%!
As part of the investigation, the Which? team tested one of the products with illegal levels of hydrogen peroxide on a piece of rump steak. A video of the test shows the gel reacting immediately with the meat, bubbling and hissing and leaving a prominent white mark.
This Which? investigation provides more solid proof that buying home tooth whitening kits on online marketplaces is dangerous and should be avoided. So, if you want a whiter, brighter smile the best and legal place to go is your dentist.
Understanding the law
According to the GDC, teeth whitening is under the remit of dentistry and should only be performed by regulated professionals. Dental hygienists and therapists can also carry out teeth whitening under the prescription of a dentist, if they are trained and competent.
Businesses like beauty salons, which do not have a registered dentist prescribing the treatment, are not allowed to offer whitening treatments containing more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, even if they invite you to administer it yourself under their supervision.
In safe hands
The only place that can offer safe and effective tooth whitening is your dental practice. And where else could be better, given that dentists are experts on everything concerning the teeth, gums and oral health?
Dentist-led treatments are convenient as well as safe, and your dentist will be able to choose the most suitable treatment for your teeth and teach you how to administer it correctly.
Whitening treatment at 543 Dental Centre will only be provided if an examination has taken place and if any other treatment is required, patients must wait at least a month before whitening treatment can be performed.
At 543 Dental Centre, we can offer you a choice of a 90-minute, all-in-one whitening treatment in the practice, or take-home whitening treatment that you can wear at your convenience at home over the course of about two weeks. We produce customised trays by taking impressions of your teeth and this ensures a good, comfortable fit and we use a barrier to minimise any contact with the gum area.
Our dentists are trained in soothing any tooth or gum sensitivity you might experience, and we will monitor your treatment to ensure it is comfortable and safe, whilst still achieving the results you desire.
Find out more about our whitening treatments or call us on 01482 565488 to book a preliminary consultation.