Most of us want whiter teeth, and we want them as soon as possible. With numerous unregulated products for teeth whitening sold online, it’s no wonder some of them may be dangerous. If you are considering purchasing a home teeth whitening kit or having professional teeth whitening, this post will help you make an informed decision.
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Unregulated Teeth Whitening Products
One of the significant issues with products sold online is they are not always what they purport to be. Many teeth whitening kits and products sold online are actually “fake” and can cause a lot of harm to your teeth. The BBC’s Fake Britain has previously investigated unregulated and illegal tooth-whitening kits and teeth-bleaching products.
They discovered products containing up to 110 times the legal limit of hydrogen peroxide and high acid levels. Additionally, some illegal teeth whitening kits and products contain chemicals banned by EU legislation, such as sodium perborate, which is carcinogenic and perboric acid. High hydrogen peroxide and acid levels can destroy your teeth by dissolving the enamel and damaging gum tissue. And do you really want to risk using a product in your mouth that might contain known carcinogens and unknown chemicals that could potentially damage your health?
Currently, Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) can not keep up with the thousands of new products advertised online daily. This means that companies can put whatever they want on their products (and do). After all, if you are a company outside of the UK, there is nothing to deter you, which means you CAN NOT trust claims like — approved by or recommended by dentists.
Gareth Edwards, BDS, principle dentist and co-owner of Smile Stories dental Clinic in Bournemouth, gave us his advice about teeth whitening kits.
“Teeth whitening kits that can be bought for home use are either ineffective or dangerous. Hydrogen peroxide can cause serious damage to the enamel and long-term harm to teeth and gums. If you want whiter teeth, find a GDC-registered dentist that offers professional teeth whitening that is safe and effective.”
Also, Beware of Fake Dentists
Have you ever seen professional teeth whitening for an unbelievably low price? This should be a red flag, and if the dentist is offering teeth whitening for a lot less than usual, there is usually a reason for it. Maybe they are a registered dentist just starting to provide teeth whitening services and want to promote them. Or maybe they are not a registered dentist.
Unscrupulous people who want to appear to be registered dentists can easily set up a professional website with fake before and after photos and General Dental Council (GDC) registration numbers. And if someone is offering mobile teeth whitening services, this is illegal unless they are a GDC-registered dental professional. Fortunately, the GDC makes it simple to check if a dentist or dental professional is registered.
You can check a genuine GDC registration number on the GDC website. When you check a GDC number, you will get the full details of the person registered, including their full name and when they qualified.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening is different at every dentist. Various products and techniques can produce dramatically different results. If you want the whitest and healthiest teeth, you should have a hygienist appointment for a scale and polish. This will remove plaque that can make teeth look yellow and may leave your teeth looking so white, you no longer need to have them whitened.
Another reason to see a hygienist is to check your gum health. After all, there is little point in having white teeth if they are at risk of falling out because of untreated gum disease. And a reputable dentist will not whiten teeth if there are signs of advanced gum disease, a buildup of plaque, loose fillings or other dental issues.
Teeth Whitening Q&A
Is teeth whitening permanent?
No, teeth whitening is not permanent. Your teeth will discolour over time from drink, food and plaque buildup. However, if you have your teeth professionally cleaned before teeth whitening and take really good care of them, they can stay white for years.
Is teeth whitening safe?
Research has shown that teeth whitening is safe when done correctly and does not cause damage to enamel or any longer-term harm to teeth health.
Who can carry out teeth whitening treatments legally?
If you offer professional teeth whitening, you must be a dental care professional registered with the GDC.