Illegal teeth-whitening cases rise 26% in U.K.

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com assistant editor

February 11, 2020 -- Reports of illegal teeth whitening, which can leave patients with burns, blisters, and tooth loss, soared by 26% in the U.K. in 2019. That percentage may be higher since the data are based on customers' reports, according to an article published on February 10 by the BBC.

In 2019, 732 cases of illegal teeth whitening were reported to the U.K.'s General Dental Council, while 582 were reported in 2018. Since 2016, the council has received 2,885 reports of illicit teeth whitening.

In the U.K., only professionals registered with the General Dental Council can legally whiten people's teeth. Those who fail to comply can be charged criminally and be required to pay a fine.

However, an undercover investigation conducted by the BBC revealed that several companies offered a few hours of training for fraudulent qualifications. One company, London School of Nails and Beauty, had provided "thousands" of candidates with illegitimate qualifications, according to the article.

Though the dental council launched 126 prosecutions against illegal teeth-whitening providers since 2015, it cannot go after those who provide people with illegal training.

The principal from the school contended that the training it provided was legal because customers would be asked to carry out parts of the procedure themselves. However, the General Dental Council said that providing customers with a teeth-whitening tray and giving them tips about application could be considered giving "advise or attendance," which would be a criminal offense, according to the article.


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