26 May

Consumer investigation reveals illegal whitening kits available online

An investigation carried out by the consumer group, Which? has revealed that illegal tooth whitening kits are available to buy online. 

The Which? investigation tested 36 products, some of which had dangerous levels of whitening agents, including hydrogen peroxide. The worst offender was a product that contained 300 times the legal limit of hydrogen peroxide for home whitening kits. Out of the 36 products tested, more than 20 had illegal quantities of whitening agent. 

Since the investigation, all the products have been removed. They had previously been listed on popular sites, including eBay, Amazon and AliExpress. 

The most dangerous product, which was sold by Oral Orthodontic Materials Store via AliExpress, contained 30.7% hydrogen peroxide. When contacted by representatives from Which? the company said that it had spotted the mistake, addressed it and removed the item from sale. AliExpress representatives confirmed that the product was no longer for sale and that the company had taken swift action after being contacted by Which?

In the UK, products that are sold over the counter should have a maximum hydrogen peroxide content of 0.1%. Products used by dentists can contain up to 6%. Six of the products tested by Which had hydrogen peroxide content of over 10%.

There is a risk of chemical burns, enamel damage and even premature tooth loss associated with using dangerous, illegal whitening kits.

Director of the British Dental Association, Dr Paul Woodhouse, explained that hydrogen peroxide is potentially very dangerous and should only be handled by trained, qualified, registered dentists. If hydrogen peroxide is not used safely, there is a high risk of damage to the teeth and gums, which may be irreparable.

Patients who want to enjoy a whiter, brighter smile are encouraged to seek advice from their dentist. Dentist-approved treatments are safe and they are also highly effective. Dentists also provide the necessary care before and after treatment to ensure that patients are suitable candidates for treatment and reduce the risk of side-effects.