Whitening toothpaste, whitening mouthwash, whitening gum, spa whitening—the tooth whitening industry has surged in recent years, leading to a glut of products and services available in the market. While most of these are effective, affordable, and safe, occasionally someone takes shortcuts for sake of profit—recently a tooth whitening sold in Kent was found to have nearly 100 times the legal levels of hydrogen peroxide in it.
At those levels it could have had “serious consequences for a person’s health,” according to a trading standards investigation. The trader has been fined, but buyers need to beware when it comes to purchasing products from those who aren’t certified oral care professionals.
Businessman Thai Tran, 27 of Broadway, Stratford, London, pleaded guilty at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court to a total of five charges and was fined £715 ($1200) and had to contribute towards court costs.
All White 3000 Ltd. trading as Sonic Whitening, where Tran was a Director, also received five charges and the same penalty.
The defendant traded out of Royal Victoria Place, in Tunbridge Wells, where one of his products included a tooth-whitening pen, which was found to have dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide after a test purchase.
Tran’s pen was found by Trading Standards to have a hydrogen peroxide concentration of 10.9% – 109 times the maximum permitted concentration of 0.1% – and was prosecuted under the Consumer Protection Act (1987).
Mike Hill, Kent County Council cabinet member for customer and communities, said: “Hydrogen peroxide in these products is regulated for a reason and too much can have serious consequences for a person’s health.
“This prosecution sends a clear message to unscrupulous traders dealing in these products that we view this as a dangerous practice, and we will press for the heaviest fine.”
The prosecution is the second success this year for Trading Standards in their battle against illegal tooth whitening products.
In July, a sole trader based in Oldham, was ordered to pay £2375 ($3856) in costs after he was found selling goods on eBay containing hydrogen peroxide 124 times the permitted level.
The range of product available can make it difficult when it comes to selecting whitening products. However, you’re dealing with your health, so it pays to choose reputable products and certified oral care professionals when it comes to teeth whitening.
Emma Johnson is the owner of Pearl Boutique, a clinic that specializes in teeth whitening. She is a registered dental hygienist and completed her diploma at Camosun College, which offers one of the best recognized dental hygiene programs in Canada. Emma also holds a health science degree in kinesiology from the University of the Fraser Valley.