Teeth Whitening… at the Airport?!?

Teeth whitening for airport travelersTeeth whitening isn’t just for Americans… it seems the whole planet wants white teeth.

Well, that just got easier for UK travelers, who can now get tooth whitening at the airport. Yes, the airport.

Passengers can make appointments at the Manchester and Birmingham airports for a 20-minute laser teeth whitening session before their flight departs. Patients can book online ahead of time, or even drop in for whitening at one of the 5-chair clinics.

The teeth bleaching program, launched under the name of “Smile Company,” is an offshoot of Brighter White Teeth Company, and uses a tooth whitening process developed in the US.

And of course, while patients get rid of their yellow teeth at the airport, they’re also welcome to pick up at-home teeth whitener products…

“Coffee, anyone? Peanuts? Teeth whiteners?”

Read more: Tooth whitening? Try before you fly

Best Tooth Whitening Methods Revealed by Dentists

Best teeth whitening methodsWhen it comes to teeth whitening, dentists say custom-fit bleaching trays for at-home whitening are the most effective option. Three-quarters of the dentists in this survey said it works great.

Dentists feel that in-office gel bleaching and laser teeth whitening work okay, but they are not impressed with store-bought teeth whiteners.

“The at-home custom-fit tray whitening method works best,” said one dentist. “Over the course of several days, the patient can control the degree of tooth whitening to her own preferences — something that cannot be said for the other methods. And once the custom trays are made, the patient can easily and efficiently perform the later ‘touch-ups’ that inevitably will be needed with the passage of time.”

“Who trusts a pimply faced kid at the mall to whiten their teeth?” asked a California dentist.

“Any monkey can whiten teeth,” said a Florida dentist. “The art is whitening to the fullest extent possible, which varies from person to person; and then to do it predictably without creating sensitivity. Sensitivity can be a real show stopper.”

Read more: Best Teeth Whitening Methods According to Dentists

Teeth Whitening Product Strength Heavily Regulated in Europe

Teeth Whitening Product Strength Heavily Regulated in EuropeTooth whitening products that could harm teeth are a little harder to buy online, thanks to the efforts of Which?, a British consumer watchdog group.

The group discovered teeth whiteners available on major websites such as eBay, Amazon and Google that contain dangerously high levels of hydrogen peroxide – up to 350 times what is now permitted in the European Union.

It’s not just remarkable how much peroxide is in these products – it’s also remarkable how little peroxide is now permitted in whiteners sold in Europe. The European Union has recently banned sales of teeth whitening products with over 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. Here’s a brief history:

  • March 2005: European Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) recommends that >0.1 to 6.0% hydrogen peroxide (or equivalent for hydrogen peroxide-releasing substances) be considered safe “after consultation with and approval of the consumer’s dentist.”
  • January 2008: SCCP again recommends that up to 6% hydrogen peroxide is a safe limit to use for at-home tooth bleaching.
  • March 2010: The European Commission classifies over-the-counter tooth whitening products as cosmetics, not medical devices. As such, they are limited to containing or releasing a maximum of 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. (Read more)

By contrast, the home bleaching products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance contain 10 percent carbamide peroxide (a bleaching agent that is roughly three times weaker than hydrogen peroxide).

We did a search in Google’s Shopping section for the term “carbamide peroxide,” and the very first result was a 44% carbamide peroxide solution available through Amazon. “There is no stronger or more effective gel available on the market,” reads the product description.

Other products that showed up in Google include:

  • Four Patient 35% Hydrogen Peroxide Kit: 8-Arch
  • 14% Hydrogen Peroxide Take Home Whitening Kit
  •  Prefilled Whitening Tray 12% Peroxide
  • Zoom Whitening Z Mint 6%
  • 15 Syringes of 30% Carbamide Peroxide Gel
  • 12 Syringes of 30% Hi-Intensity Carbamide Peroxide Gel
  • Teeth Whitening Pens 44% Carbamide Peroxide (1000 Units)

Now, it seems unlikely that a consumer would drop $2,659 on 1,000 whitening pens, but that’s not the point. The point is that extremely powerful teeth whitening agents – the kind that should only be used by a licensed dentist – are easily available to the general public.

The products in question aren’t being sold directly by Amazon or Google, but by individual sellers who list their items on these sites. Policing the items available for sale on their sites is a real challenge for online marketplaces, but it’s also an important duty.

This was made dramatically clear in 1999 when a human kidney popped up on eBay. Though the site already had a policy that banned the sale of human organs, the kidney listing somehow made it past eBay’s security systems. Bidding reached over $5 million before eBay discovered it and ended the auction.

So what do you think?

On the one hand, consumers shouldn’t be using high-concentration bleaching products all by themselves. But on the other hand, the EU limit of 0.1% is incredibly low. Where is the happy medium?

Teeth Whitening Makes List for Back-to-School Shopping

Teeth whitening for back to schoolA new report indicates that 18% of parents say that they plan to get tooth whitening for their teen as part of going back to school.

The survey, by American Express, also apparently found that 9% of parents would be willing to pay for their kids' tattoos (yes, really!).

Teens tend to have naturally white teeth, so their passion for teeth bleaching might seem unusual… until, of course, you remember that they're teenagers. (And tooth whitening is certainly cheaper than braces…)

Read more: Back-to-school checklist: Whiter teeth & tattoos

Dentists: Has Tooth Whitening Gone Too Far? (video)

tooth whitening gone too farTooth whitening treatments have become one of the most frequently performed cosmetic dental services.

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Americans spend more than $1.4 billion on over-the-counter teeth whitening products.

But has the quest for blindingly white teeth gone too far?

One prosthodontist complained to The Wealthy Dentist, “Too many people have the Regis Philbin look: teeth that are too big and too white that look fake!”

In the following survey video we asked dentists about the subject of tooth whitening and here’s what they had to say –

What do you think? Has tooth whitening gone too far?

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