The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed an agreement to amend the regulations governing the availability and use of tooth whitening products.
A meeting of the European Commission’s Council has supported recommendations put forward by the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products in 2007.
The BDA and its partners in the Council of European Dentists (CED) have fought for a decision on this issue for almost four years.
The new regulations will mean that products containing or releasing over 0.1% hydrogen peroxide cannot be provided directly to the consumer.
Whitening products over 0.1 but less than 6% hydrogen peroxide will only be available to patients following an examination and a first episode of treatment provided or supervised by a dentist.
This is to ensure that patients are able to use products provided to them properly at home.
Announcing the agreement, the European Commission has also asked the Council of European Dentists, via the dental associations in each member state, to monitor the use of whitening products and any ill effects they cause. It is hoped this will help build a fuller picture of the use of whitening products around Europe.
Dr Stuart Johnston, chair of the BDA’s Representative Body and Chair of the Council of European Dentists’ working group on tooth whitening, said: ‘This long-awaited decision is good for dentists and their patients.
‘It puts patient safety first by recognising the importance of examination by a dentist before whitening treatments are provided and updates the legal position on whitening products for dental professionals.
‘It is also good news for Trading Standards Officers, who now have a clear indication that they should pursue non-dentists who supply whitening products. We welcome this announcement and look forward to its implementation.’
The agreement does not change the official position on products containing or releasing products of greater than 6% hydrogen peroxide and these therefore remain illegal to use.
The BDA will monitor any advances in the evidence base for these higher strength products and campaign for legislative changes that reflect those advances.