Council Warns Public on Dangers of Illegal Tooth Whitening Practices
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has lent its support to a video campaign aimed at warning the public of the dangers of illegal tooth whitening practices.
The video, which was produced by the Department for the Economy Trading Standards Service for Northern Ireland and the Environmental Health departments of all eleven local councils, highlights the risks of some tooth whitening products and services. The campaign has the backing of the British Dental Association and advises people to protect their smile by speaking to their dentist before agreeing to any procedure.
Eoin Devlin, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Assistant Director of Health and Wellbeing said, “Environmental Health officers from the eleven district councils have partnered with Trading Standards to inform the public about illegal tooth whitening practices, helping consumers to make informed decisions and to minimise the potential health risks.”
Tooth whitening is now one of the most popular cosmetic treatments with products available widely through retailers or online. The practice involves bleaching the teeth using a whitening product usually containing hydrogen peroxide.
While whitening is perfectly safe if carried out by a registered dental professional, an untrained person could cause permanent damage to teeth and gums and the law is clear that tooth whitening should be carried out within the practice of dentistry. This means that it is a criminal offence for anyone other than a registered dentist, or dental hygienist, dental therapist or clinical dental technician acting to the prescription of a dentist, to offer or provide it. Criminal prosecutions for the illegal practice of dentistry can carry significant fines because of the risk these treatments pose to members of the public.
One of the most common injuries happens when the mouthguard containing the bleaching gel (peroxide) does not fit properly and some of it leaks causing painful chemical burns to the mouth, lips, gums and tongue. In extreme cases people have been sick after swallowing the bleaching product.
While only dental professionals can provide a tooth-whitening service, it is perfectly legal for anyone to treat themselves with an over-the-counter kit, provided it contains less than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide.
To check that your dental professional is properly registered, please visit the General Dental Council’s website to check the GDC’s registers of dental professionals at www.gdc-uk.org.Back