Convictions for illegal tooth whitening on the rise
A recent increase in the number of convictions of non-dental professionals performing tooth whitening has prompted health experts to warn against the illegal practice.
Authorities are increasing fines and convictions against non-dental professionals carrying out tooth whitening, with one of the latest criminal convictions against former reality TV personality, Chelsey Harwood, who was ordered to pay more than £11,000 by Liverpool Magistrates’ Court for offering illegal tooth whitening.
A similar case saw business owner, Harjeet Jolly, ordered to pay more than £9,000 by Derby Magistrates’ Court for being found guilty of the same charges.
‘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’, commented Karen Coates, lead coordinator of the Tooth Whitening Information Group.
‘The fines handed out by courts following prosecutions by the regulator (the General Dental Council) 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 UK, 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.’
By law, tooth whitening containing or releasing between 0.1 and 6% hydrogen peroxide should only be carried out by a qualified dental professional under the prescription of a dentist.
Anybody who is not a registered dental professional and is offering tooth whitening treatment using hydrogen peroxide above 0.1% is breaking the law and liable for prosecution.
‘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’, added Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation.
‘This is false and can be significantly dangerous to consumers and lead the providers facing the severe legal consequences.
‘Ignorance in this case in not a valid excuse.
‘By carrying out these treatments, beauty therapists are breaking the law and will be forced to face the penalties.
‘Fines are unlimited, so it can have serious financial and professional implications.’