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Beware: Illegal Teeth Whitening

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I have been wanting to write this blog post for a while now as I feel like this is an issue which needs to be spread and known about. Some of you may have noticed from my tweets that I had booked a teeth whitening session from Groupon back in January with Naturawhite where I thought I was getting a great deal - £59 for a 1 hour appointment instead of £300. Turns out this isn't really a special offer at all, and is the standard rate as advertised on their Facebook page. But that's another issue altogether.

I had a routine dental appointment at the beginning of the month and when I mentioned my whitening appointment to my dentist, she seemed concerned about the legality and safety of it so I decided to investigate further. Their website is lacking in specific information about the whitening procedure which should serve as a warning sign straight away. They fail to provide information regarding the chemical agent used to lighten teeth, which is something that I, as a consumer, need to know. If it's going to be used in my mouth, I'd like to know what exactly it is. Through an email exchange, I did ask which bleaching agent they used and the question was avoided. I asked again, and was eventually given an answer. They use sodium perborate which is pending a ban by the EU and it is already banned for use in cosmetics in Japan. A quick Google search instantly brings up several webpages detailing this chemical. I feel like this information should be made immediately available to any consumer on the Naturawhite webpage. If they believe it is safe to use, why do they not disclose it openly?

The legality issue surrounding teeth whitening is often confused. New legislation came into place at the end of October 2012 which states that only GDC registered dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists may carry out dental procedures. There are also several regulations regarding the use of hydrogen peroxide - products containing or releasing hydrogen peroxide cannot be used on those under 18, tooth whitening products containing or releasing hydrogen peroxide are only legal up to the limit of 6% and must only be administered by a dental professional. I have seen Naturawhite state that the age limit for their whitening treatment is 16. Naturawhite advertise their whitening as non-peroxide but the fact is that sodium perborate breaks down into hydrogen peroxide of levels up to 35% in some cases. This is obviously much higher than the legal limit of 6%. They have 'dentists' listed on their website, but a quick General Dental Council search reveals that these 'dentists' do not exist on the GDC list of registered dentists. This company also offers training courses which allow you to become a 'bleaching technician' - a mickey mouse 'qualification' which does not mean that you are a dental professional. What this means if that you, me or anyone can walk off the street, take this course trained by non-GDC registered dentists and then whiten your teeth with an agent releasing a dangerously high level of hydrogen peroxide.

Having been in touch with Naturawhite, I was offered little reassurance. I was not aware of the solid facts at this point, and was more worried about my personal appointment in March. I received rude responses verging on aggressive, I was fed false information and misled to believe that the General Dental Council acts to protect dentists but actually, it is there to protect the public. Naturawhite led me to believe that GDC members are 'attacking' them because they are undercutting them in the market and offering teeth whitening at a much more competitive price. I have contacted Groupon to request a refund under the pretense that they are selling an illegal service and after several strongly worded email exchanges, I have been successful in getting a full refund.

The problem is, there is such a high abundance of these companies and individuals operating. Be particularly wary of beauty salons who may employ one of these 'trained bleaching technicians' to carry out teeth whitening. If the individual is not registered on the GDC register (ask for their registration number and check it) then they are performing teeth whitening illegally. There are plenty of other companies like Naturawhite operating around the UK. They will spout information about how what they are doing is legal and if it wasn't legal, they'd be shut down by now. The fact is, this legislation is still fairly recent and the GDC are faced with a huge backlog of investigations. They have been successful in shutting down similar companies, and it is only a matter of time before the rest of these companies are investigated and shut down.

I can't speak for other companies, but my experience with Naturawhite has been entirely negative. I was completely blocked from their Facebook page when I questioned the legality of their company. Surely if they have nothing to hide, they would answer any queries rather than deleting evidence of them and blocking the individual from saying any more. It is quite obvious to me that they do not want the word being spread about this industry. Yet they claim to have 100% positive reviews and to be doing no wrong - they have 100% positive reviews because they delete anything negative from their social media platforms. If they are doing no wrong, why are they so vague about the treatment and why do they not address the issue and inform their customers about what is going on? It doesn't make sense and is too suspicious, which just confirms my initial concerns.
I was sucked in by a tempting deal and I feel like these companies are exploiting that fact. We can't resist what we see as a bargain, but it's just not worth risking your dental health. Please, don't be fooled by these companies and spread the word.

I urge you to join this Facebook page dedicated to informing people of the dangers of these illegal tooth whitening companies and who are campaigning for action against them. They provide information, links to relevant information and organizations and support for those of us who have concerns: Stamp Out Illegal Tooth Whitening.

More information:


32 comments:

  1. wow this is really interesting! I was thinking about getting a deal like this from groupon since it's something i really want done but definitely wont be anymore!

    www.ohhelloamy.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. Thank you for posting this, it was a really interesting read and definitely something worth knowing that I was not previously aware of.

    I can't believe Groupon managed to endorse a company which was operating illegally, and it's scary to think how many people have fell for this and gone ahead with the whitening.

    http://hannahrebekahcampbell.blogspot.com xxx

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  3. This was such an interesting read but also to add on its also illegal to have the zoom machine things where the machine instantly whitens your teeth within so long as pointed out buy my dentist so i would only ever have it done by my dentist :) but im so sorry to hear of your experience :(

    Love emily xx

    http://love-x-beauty.blogspot.co.uk/

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  4. What a very well written post, I shall try and spread the word! *swishes cape*

    xxx

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  5. This is very worrying indeed! I hope this message gets spread around so people will avoid using this company in the future. xxx

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  6. This company has behaved atrociously towards you. Unfortunately there are far too many others like them, only too ready to take the money from unsuspecting people with little care for the risks involved. As a dental nurse, I would advise anybody considering getting their teeth whitened to visit their own dentist, or at least seek assurance that the beauty salon they plan to visit is using a GDC registered dentist to perform the whitening treatment. We see far too many patients who've been left with chronic hypersensitivity after visiting illegal teeth whiteners and it really needs to stop. Stamp Out Illegal Tooth Whitening has already made brilliant progress with this and your fab post here will help educate too :-)

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  7. Thanks for posting this, I didn't know much about teeth whiting but if I'm ever going to get it done I'll make sure that the person doing it is GDC registered. I can't believe that the company has been managing to get away with this, will try and spread the word :-) xx

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  8. A beauty salon near me had someone coming in to do teeth whitening a while ago! I told my dentist and he looked into it and said it was illegal so I don't think they go there any more! I feel sorry for people who get it done not realising it's dangerous :/ xx

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  9. So glad you brought this to our attention, very well written post x

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  10. I've heard so much about this topic on the radio lately, and your post definitely helps the cause! It's quite scary how little we know about cosmetic dentistry vs cosmetic surgery etc.

    Kate x

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  11. Thank you so much for posting this! My mum and I were looking at teeth whitening on a offer site a few months ago and im definitely going to check what they use and research a little before I book anything!

    Elise from elisedopson.com

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  12. Thank you for posting this, I had no idea, which sounds naiive. I kinda assumed that since you can buy things like crest strips, these kind of places are okay.

    I was considering getting it done eventually at a place near me, so I'm glad you've convinced me otherwise!

    www.gleepface.com

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  13. It's disgraceful that this happens, I wouldn't have thought twice about the legality of teeth whitening before reading this post but it just goes to show you should really do your research before undertaking anything like this.

    http://www.beautyboxuk.blogspot.co.uk/

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  14. I am so shocked by this ! i am sharing this info with as many people i can

    www.justjoannablog.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. wow well done you for bringing this to light! I had my teeth whitened at a highly reputable dentist on harley street and it still hurt like hell and high water so god forbid going anywhere not certified... very scary!

    Thanks for the warning!

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  16. Well done for writing this post, the reason companies get away with things like this is because there are not enough people like you in the world, willing to bring attention to it. Great stuff. xx

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  17. Great post, I have a teeth whitening kit for the past few years, I did my research on it. I visited my local dentist and she organised it for me and I did pay expensive for it. But it’s definitely worth checking out the registration etc. Great to hear you are warning people! Goes to show we have to check everything and anything nowadays!!x

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  18. Nice post keeps on posting this type of interesting and informative articles.

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  19. Wow, what an adventure! That's great that you chose to share this info with use though. I can understand how many people are suspicious of Groupon and websites like this because we always hear weird stories like yours. I am a big fan of Groupon for hair package such as a cut and color for more than half of the price and I have never been really disappointed, but I have heard horror stories about lash extensions, IPL, etc.

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  20. I find many useful things herewith. It is really amazing for us. Where ever we are, just click on the website and Take advantages .Your article impressed me very heartily. From a last decade I was searching such type of web site. Thanks for giving me a space in your blog. I refer this to my close friends who are already seeking for the same .thanks again guys…Teethwhitening

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  21. thanks for you link on twitter :) - i'm now following!

    this is a really great post with some handy information. I was actually looking into teeth whitening, but i think i'll put it off until i know the procedure and treatment process.

    cllrs.blogspot.com

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  22. Brilliant post and cause. Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention
    xx

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  23. This is a really informative and interesting post, thank you for sharing!
    I'm considering looking into some teething whitening treatment so I've bookmark-ed this for future reference :) x

    Stacey xx
    www.words-and-stuff.com

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  24. I certainly appreciate this warning! Call me a narcissist, but I’m extra vain when it comes to my teeth. I almost fell into diving into my friend’s offer to use a promo he got online. Now, I have to think things over for my welfare and my friend’s as well. I hope he wouldn’t get upset though. -->Reginald

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  25. Just seen this post & it's really opened my eyes! I didn't know anything much about this subject before reading this post xxx

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  26. Such a great post. I had no idea this was happening. It;s so dangerous and I'm so glad you have blogged about it. I hope they get shut down for good!
    Great post!

    xx

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  32. It is such a pity that despite awareness people fall prey to these cheap deals. Noone should take risk for any sort of facial aesthetic treatment. it should only be undertaken from the competent and professional place like www.cosmedocs.com which offers wide range of professional aesthetic treatment only by qualified and experienced cosmetic practitioners. Government should take serious steps against these illegal health service providers who are exploiting the naïve public.

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