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TikTok teeth whitening
TikTok/@clauds244

Teens of TikTok, please stop using household bleach to whiten your teeth


TextAlex Peters

DIY bleaching can cause ‘irreversible damage’, dentists warn

TikTok users have once again been going to dangerous lengths to get whiter teeth.

Earlier this year, a viral homemade remedy for whitening your teeth that combined baking soda and liquid hydrogen peroxide was condemned by dentists as having the potential to cause serious damage. Now, another DIY teeth whitening trick is making the rounds on TikTok, and experts are warning that it could be extremely dangerous. 

There are an increasing number of TikTok videos documenting users attempting to whiten their teeth with store-bought 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide. Under EU and UK law, teeth whitening products can be sold directly to the public only if they contain no more than 0.1 per cent hydrogen peroxide. Anything higher can legally only be sold to dentists who are limited to use of up to 6 per cent hydrogen peroxide. It is also illegal for under-18s to have teeth-whitening treatments.

In the US, the situation is very different. Teeth-whitening products are viewed as cosmetic products rather than drugs so they do not need to be approved or tested by the FDA and home-use products have been found to contain up to 15 per cent hydrogen peroxide. Meanwhile, dentists themselves are able to use hydrogen peroxide in concentrations ranging from 20 to 40 per cent.

One of the most popular TikTok tutorials comes from user @clauds244, who posted a video this week demonstrating the process and technique she uses. The video already has over 15 million views. “So I saw a dentist on TikTok saying that the main ingredient in whitening strips was hydrogen peroxide and it’s really cheap to buy on its own,” she says in the video, explaining that she bought a £4 bottle on eBay and has been dipping cotton buds into the solution, then wiping it on here teeth for 30 seconds to a minute. “After four days I had to stop doing it because it worked so well,” she says, advising that people stop “wasting your money” on professional whitening strips.

However, dentists have been warning against this DIY practice. Dr Emma Cunningham, a dentist and founder of Dr Emma Advanced Aesthetics clinic, says although hydrogen peroxide is very effective for whitening teeth, the use of it is not advised without the supervision of a dentist using custom made whitening trays. “If there is no seal between the tooth and the gingival tissue, there can be leakage of peroxide onto the tissues causing severe burns and in some cases irreversible damage,” she says.  

“This trend is worrying, as people are not aware of the risks and with young people being particularly impressionable I can already see how this will escalate.”

The British Dental Association also says administering the wrong products at home could cause “permanent damage.” “The BDA is concerned about the DIY trend to whiten teeth with levels of hydrogen peroxide that are higher than that permitted in over-the-counter products,” a spokesperson told the BBC

“Using higher concentrations unsupervised, as some videos advocate, raises the risk of damage to teeth and gums, including burns to the mouth, tooth and gum sensitivity, as well as irritated or inflamed gums.”

@cheyenn3

##teeth ##dentist ##foryou i didn’t really see a difference. i’ll use it for the whole week

♬ original sound - clauds244
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