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

Dentist Teeth Whitening Popularity (video)

Teeth whitening from the cosmetic dentistTooth whitening is one of the most popular forms of cosmetic dentistry, and even though some patients overdo it, five out of six dentists don't think it's a problem.

“If people want ‘toilet bowl teeth,’ so what?" asked one cosmetic dentist. "Too white? Isn't that like being too rich?"

“I still see 5-10 patients daily asking about teeth bleaching who have never done any teeth whitening previously," offered another dentist.

Dentists still see many patients asking about tooth whitening and procedures like laser teeth whitening that can only be done in a dentist's office. However, many patients choose over-the-counter teeth whiteners (often containing carbamide peroxide) to get the white teeth they desire.

Read more about whitening in the dentist's office: Are Today’s Consumers Over-Whitening Their Teeth?

Tooth Whitening Patient Value, According to Dentists

Tooth whitening patient value for dentistsThe value of a tooth whitening patient can vary significantly from practice to practice. Of course, this has a lot to with the teeth whitening options each dentist offers.

In The Wealthy Dentist's most recent survey, dentists reported an average production of about $450 per patient. Values ranged from $200 up to $700.

Tooth whitening patients may well end up needing additional dentistry. This can further increase their dental patient value.

Teeth whitening is an introduction to cosmetic dentistry for many patients. In addition, while cosmetics may bring a new patient into the dental practice, general and restorative dentistry can keep them there for years.

More Tooth Whitening Patient Articles from The Wealthy Dentist:

Teeth Whitening and the Cosmetic Dentist (video)

Tooth whitening and cosmetic dentistryTeeth whitening is quite popular, but the average dentist says it doesn't necessarily lead to more cosmetic dentistry.

This survey found that less than half of teeth bleaching patients go on to get additional work from their cosmetic dentist.

"With tooth whitening, there is only one answer: deep bleaching!" said one dentist who is enthusiastic about teeth whiteners. "Whitening and cosmetic dentistry go hand in hand. 95% of my highest earning cases are cosmetic."

Read more: Do Tooth Whitening Patients Get More Cosmetic Dentistry?

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