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Consumer safety solicitor voices concern at reports of illegal teeth-whitening

A consumer safety solicitor has voiced her concern at recent reports of a 26% rise in illegal teeth-whitening procedures uncovered by the BBC.

Posted on 11 February 2020

According to a BBC report 732 cases of illegal teeth-whitening were reported by the General Dentistry Council (GCD) in 2019, an increase from 582 cases in 2018. 

In the UK, teeth-whitening can only be performed legally by professionals who are registered with the GDC.

The BBC investigation found that one beauty school had claimed to have provided “thousands” of people with illegal qualifications. 

A failure to comply with the registration requirement could result in a criminal record and unlimited fine. The GDC has said that it has launched 126 prosecutions since 2015 against illegal teeth whiteners but it lacks the power to prosecute those performing the training. 

Tina Patel, consumer law and product liability solicitor at Leigh Day, said:

“An untrained beautician using teeth-whitening kits could leave patients at risk of health problems including burns, lost teeth and blisters. 

“It is alarming that illegal practices are on the rise and this could be just the tip of the iceberg as the GDC relies on customer reports which means that the real number could even be a lot higher. 

“It is also concerning that the GDC does not have the power to prosecute those performing the illegal teeth-whitening training, more should be done to ensure those responsible are effectively prosecuted. 

“We urge consumers who are thinking of undergoing teeth-whitening procedures to only use registered dentists.”