Whiter teeth craze thrives with no rules

Risk of damage to teeth from unregulated industry

CHOICE says people using kiosk, salon or home teeth whitening treatments could be risking damage to their teeth. This is due to widely varying concentrations of chemicals used in the process and the absence of industry regulation.

The people’s watchdog has found teeth whitening products with concentrations of up to 16% hydrogen peroxide. The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (EU SCCP) recommends concentrations of no more than 6% hydrogen peroxide be used in home or salon kits; a level endorsed by the Dental Board of Australia.

“This unregulated industry is still young and, in the absence of studies over a longer period, we are urging people to be cautious when using teeth whitening products,” says CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just.

With little or no training and an outlay of a few thousand dollars for the necessary equipment, anyone can set themselves up to provide cosmetic teeth whitening in hair and beauty salons, shopping centre kiosks or in people’s homes.

“If you’re going to use a salon, kiosk or home kit, talk to your dentist first because your teeth and gums should be in good condition before you apply these teeth whitening products.” says Ms Just.

CHOICE says people need to be aware that anyone providing a purely cosmetic service is not qualified to give expert dental advice. Cracked enamel, cavities, restorations or exposed root surfaces require special care and need to be taken into consideration before teeth whitening is done.

“With significant variation in hydrogen peroxide levels being used in the kits and salons, we strongly recommend that anyone having this work done starts with a gentler product. The results may not be as spectacular but it’s likely to be safer,” says Ms Just.

For more information from CHOICE about cosmetic teeth whitening, go to www.choice.com.au/teethwhitening

Media contact:
Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

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