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Millions at risk from illegal tooth whitening treatments

Patients are putting themselves in danger through buying tooth whitening home kits.

Research conducted on behalf of the British Dental Foundation suggests that one in four people would avoid going to the dentist for tooth whitening treatment. Furthermore, 28 per cent would buy illegal bleaching packs as a less expensive alternative.

Although cheaper, these DIY methods have potentially dangerous long-term effects. Administered by non-dental professionals, teeth may be permanently impaired.

The worrying statistics showed that 13 per cent of people would buy over the counter products to get a celebrity smile, whilst eight per cent would use the internet. Two per cent would visit a beautician – a practice that was outlawed in 2012.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, gave a stern warning to those using alternatives to dentists: “Beauticians and those working in kiosks carry out the procedure without the correct training, qualifications or the expertise required.”

In a statement, Dr Carter outlined the health risks of the procedure, warning: “In many cases the tooth whitening agent contains hydrogen peroxide above the recommended limit, which can result in permanent damage.”

Dentists can include information on their teeth whitening procedures in their dental welcome pack. A Designer Dental poster package could also provide helpful material for waiting rooms to spread the message of healthy oral hygiene.

It is important to maximise knowledge of safe dental care and the full effects of countertop bleaching to be made clear.

Keen to minimise the need for tooth whitening, Dr Carter offered advice to prevent discolouring. He said that cigarettes, red wine, tea, coffee and blackcurrant are the main culprits and those wishing for a pearly white smile should cut down.

The rise in teeth whitening has come at a time when the pressure for celebrity-style teeth is constant. Vast speculation over whether Kate Middleton had the treatment performed before her royal marriage still rages on.

Posted by Yvonne Wallace.

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