ILLEGAL teeth whitening products akin to “brushing with bleach” are being used by rogue beauticians, councils have warned.
The DIY kits, which are sold online, contain up to 300 times the legal limit of hydrogen peroxide, and can cause mouth infections, blistering and burns to gums, damage to nerves and tooth enamel, and gum-shrinking.
The Local Government Association is calling for tougher penalties on those selling dangerous kits and on unqualified teeth whitening practitioners. It also wants the Government to raise consumer awareness of the dangers of both illegal operators performing the treatment and home-based kits with dangerous amounts of bleach.
Professional dentists are the only people legally allowed to perform teeth whitening services at a business premise.
Coun Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “People need to be made more aware of the laws and dangers on teeth whitening, with rogue practitioners given tougher sentences and larger fines.
“Illegal DIY teeth whitening kits may promise fast results and a brighter smile but those containing dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide are the equivalent of brushing with bleach and can put oral health at risk.
“Trading standards are determined to remove any DIY teeth whitening kits with dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide from the market and will always seek to prosecute those involved in making and selling them.
“These whitening kits are enabling unlicensed practitioners, including some beauty salons, to cash in on the treatment, and some are using illegal gels.
“Anyone considering having their teeth whitened should only have it done by a dentist or another regulated dental professional.”
One council alone seized more than 15,000 dangerous teeth whitening kits between May 2015 and February 2016, bound for shops, salons and homes, the LGA said.
Some of the kits contained more than 33 per cent hydrogen peroxide - the maximum legal limit for use by the public in the UK is 0.1 per cent, or 6 per cent for dentists and other registered practitioners.
The issue of illegal teeth whitening products is not a new one. In January 2011, trading standards teams in the East Riding warned that products found to be containing 360 times the permitted amount of hydrogen peroxide had been found.