New investigation finds illegal tooth whitening ‘running rampant’


Illegal tooth whitening is ‘running rampant’ across some parts of England, a BBC investigation has shown

A BBC investigation has revealed the scale of illegal tooth whitening across the west of England.

Undercover reporters found one provider operating under a false name, two years after he had been prosecuted by the General Dental Council (GDC) for illegal tooth whitening.

The BBC’s investigation, filmed for Inside out West, found unlicensed online trainers offering guidance for illegal tooth whitening and recommending products that could potentially cause damage to teeth.

‘The black market in teeth whitening is not confined to the west of England,’ the British Dental Association’s scientific adviser, Professor Damien Walmsley, said.

‘Illegal whitening is now running rampant across the UK, and while authorities are doing what they can it’s vital that the public understand the risks.

‘If carried out by a trained dental professional teeth whitening is perfectly safe.

‘The alternative is illegal for a very good reason.

‘Fly-by-nights with a few hours online training can cause lasting damage to your teeth and gums and can’t help you when something goes wrong. 

‘If you put yourself in the hands of unqualified individuals armed with unsafe chemicals then you are gambling with your health.’


  1. 1

    I feel that beauty colleges and shows should be making people aware that Teeth Whitening is not a legitimate beauty procedure.
    Trading Standards and the government should be clamping down on the companies that claim to be able to train, licence and insure non dentally qualified individuals in the act of teeth whitening.
    There should be hefty fines if these companies are found to be misleading the public about who can legitimately carry out teeth whitening. The internet is full of companies making these false claims – maybe the search engine providers could be approached for help.

  2. 2

    there needs a regulation in place for beauticians to offer such treatments cosmetically. The argument is one that is vastly loosing its power. To stop such activities trading standards needs to stop the products being sold to anyone other than a gdc registrant if people cannot get hold of the product they cannot offer the treatment. This argument I don’t think will be won as easily as removing search engine optimisation

  3. 3

    On several occasions I have reported local infringements to both Trading Standards and the GDC. Trading Standards were good enough to reply and say that it wasn’t their problem. The GDC didn’t even see fit to bless me with a response. No wonder we have a problem.

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