Dentists issue warning over dangerous teeth whitening kits

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Dental experts have encouraged the public to steer clear of home whitening kits after an investigation found several products containing illegal quantities of hydrogen peroxide were available to buy online.

An investigation by the consumer group, Which? revealed that many of the products tested by representatives contained illegal quantities of whitening agents, including hydrogen peroxide. Of the 36 products tested, over 20 had dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide, with one product containing 300 times the legal level for home whitening kits.

In response to the findings, the British Dental Association (BDA) has urged members of the public to avoid searching for and buying DIY whitening kits online and encouraged anyone who is interested in whitening their teeth to seek expert advice.

Home whitening kits should contain a maximum level of 0.6% hydrogen peroxide. Dentists are able to use treatments with a level of up to 6%. One of the products analysed by Which? was found to have a level of 30.7%.

Dr Paul Woodhouse, BDA director, said that using products that have high hydrogen peroxide levels can cause severe damage to the gums and result in premature tooth loss. Symptoms include chemical burns, which can affect the gums and the lips. Dr Woodhouse explained that dentists are trained to handle hydrogen peroxide and they also have the necessary knowledge and experience to provide care before and after treatment.

All of the illegal products tested during the Which? investigation have since been withdrawn from sale. Prior to the study, kits were widely available online on sites such as Amazon, AliExpress and eBay.

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