Almost half (45%) of UK adults who whiten their teeth use an illegal provider, new research has shown.

The research, carried out by White Glo, found that 75% of people in the UK aren’t happy with the shade of their teeth, with 24% reverting to teeth whitening.

One Facebook user from Glasgow told White Glo of her own story when she visited a local beautician’s home for tooth whitening treatment: ‘I was there for just over an hour and every 10 to 15 minutes she would top up the gel on my teeth.

‘No questions were asked such as my age, if I’d had whitening before or any allergy tests.

‘The next morning, I woke up and my lips were stuck together and I looked like I’d been in a boxing ring.

‘The woman said it was normal and that I should just put lipstick on and I would be fine.

‘My whole mouth felt like it was on fire and I had about 10 blisters.’

Legal whitening

Tooth whitening should only be provided under the supervision of a dental practitioner, according to the General Dental Council.

At the start of the year this position was backed by FEDCAR, which encouraged the rest of Europe to follow the UK’s lead.

‘This is great news for the dental profession and patients,’ Victoria Sheppard-Jones, interim head of illegal practice at the General Dental Council, said at the time.

‘It endorses the UK legal position that tooth whitening is a complicated and potentially risky procedure and as such can only be undertaken by a qualified dental professional.

‘As always, we encourage anybody who is considering tooth whitening to check the register to ensure that the individual is legally allowed to do so before proceeding.’