BDA calls for concerted action on tooth whitening

THE British Dental Association is calling on dentists, Trading Standards officials and the GDC to join forces to put an end to teeth whitening treatments being supplied illegally by non-qualified individuals.

This comes on the eve of the 31 October UK implementation date of the European Council’s Directive on Tooth Whitening Products. The new directive means that tooth whitening products containing up to 0.1 per cent of hydrogen peroxide will continue to be freely available to consumers on the market but for products containing between 0.1 per cent and 6 per cent of hydrogen peroxide, clinical examination and first treatment by a dentist will be required to ensure the absence of risk factors or oral pathologies. Patients will then be able to continue the treatment unsupervised, although the use of these products by persons younger than 18 years will not be allowed.

Tooth whitening products containing more than 6 per cent of hydrogen peroxide will continue to be prohibited.

The new directive should signal an end to non-dentists providing powerful whitening treatments but the BDA is concerned that some individuals might choose to flout the legal position on the supply of products. The BDA is calling on dentists to be vigilant and report non-dentists offering tooth whitening to both their local Trading Standards department and to the GDC, and for both agencies to take robust action in response to such reports.

Dr Stuart Johnston, a member of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee, and Chair of the Council of European Dentists’ working group on whitening products, said: "The transposition of the European Directive into UK law makes possible a new era of patient safety in tooth whitening. We must now make that possibility a reality. Dentists must be diligent in reporting any non-dentists performing whitening, and Trading Standards and the GDC must put safety first and take action to protect the public.

"Often whitening by non-dentists is also performed using dangerous chemicals such as chlorine dioxide and sodium perborate which can result in severely burnt gums. It is time to put an end to unsafe, illegal whitening."

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