Increased fines and prosecutions in illegal tooth whitening in clinics and spas


Tooth whitening can only legally be carried out by a qualified dental professional, and tooth whitening products containing or releasing above 0.1% hydrogen peroxide can only be sold to a registered dental professional offering the treatment in their practice. It can only be performed on patients over 18 who have been examined by a dentist to ensure there are no risks or other concerns about their oral health. Yet beauty therapists and other non-dental professionals are performing tooth whitening in clinics and spas, risking their livelihoods and even their freedom. The severity of the fines and prosecutions for breaking the law are being increased by the courts.

Lead coordinator of the Tooth Whitening Information Group, Karen Coates said: “The recent prosecutions show that offering illegal tooth whitening does not pay and can leave beauty therapists counting the cost of a substantial fine, as well as a criminal record. The fines handed out by courts following prosecutions by the regulator are unlimited and have been increasing in line with the severity of the issue. Every single prosecution brought against illegal tooth whitening providers has been successful, so if people are caught, the consequences are likely to be extremely serious. In the wrong hands, tooth whitening can cause major damage to the mouth, leaving patients with severe burns and in excruciating pain. In the United Kingdom, only qualified dental professionals can carry out tooth whitening procedure. The message is simple, if you are not a dental professional it is illegal to offer tooth whitening and you will be caught.”

“The severity of the fines and prosecutions for breaking the law by offering illegal tooth whitening are being increased by the courts.“

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “Many beauty professionals will undergo a brief ‘training period’ with an unscrupulous company and then led to believe they are qualified to carry out tooth whitening. This is false and can be significantly dangerous to consumers and lead the providers facing the severe legal consequences.”

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