11 February 2020

The General Dental Council (GDC) has reported a sharp rise in reports of illegal teeth whitening within the last year. Last year 732 cases of illegal-teeth whitening were reported to the GDC, a 26% increase from 582 in 2018. The GDC said it had launched 126 prosecutions against illegal teeth whiteners since 2015.

Hair and beauty professionals are reminded that only a qualified dentist, or dental hygienist/therapist working to a dentist’s prescription, can carry out any teeth whitening procedures. 

Caroline Larissey, NHBF Director of Quality & Standards, said, “If you offer teeth whitening, you are breaking the law and your insurance will not cover you if things go wrong.  As well as a potentially huge claim for damages, you will also face unlimited fines for breaking the law. The NHBF provides a free factsheet for their Members to make sure they know all the facts about teeth whitening.”

“In addition, don’t be taken in by ‘training courses’ that offer ‘qualifications’ in teeth whitening. These can be expensive but are not worth the paper they’re written on,” says Caroline. “Only qualified dentists can legally carry out teeth whitening.”

The NHBF also advises salons not to sell legal home teeth whitening kits. “In theory, there is nothing to prevent a salon selling these kits,” says Caroline, “but it would be very tricky to do this without also offering advice on how to use them – and offering advice is against the law unless you have dental qualifications.”