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DIY teeth whitening kits sold in the malls can erode enamel and make teeth more sensitive
DIY teeth whitening kits sold in the malls 'can erode enamel and make teeth more sensitive'
DIY teeth whitening kits sold in malls and stores can damage enamel and increase sensitivity, dentists warn.
A study led by experts at the University of Manchester Dental School reveals the risks of using over-the-counter products.
European regulations mean teeth whitening treatments that contain hydrogen peroxide – a bleaching agent – can be provided only by qualified dental practitioners.
But other treatments, including those containing sodium chlorite or sodium carbonate peroxide, can be sold in New Zealand to anyone.
The research team, writing in the British Dental Journal, said traditional bleaching treatments have 30 years of safety data, but little research has been done to show some of the newer over-the-counter products are safe.
The experts tested five DIY products available in the UK from Boots and Superdrug on freshly extracted teeth.
They found that the products significantly reduced the hardness of the teeth and substantially damaged dental surfaces.
Researchers said three that were tested contained sodium chlorite, which significantly reduced hardness and increased surface abrasions.
A fourth contained a substance called 'PAP acid', which produced a 'distinct etching pattern'.
And another contained sodium carbonate peroxide, which resulted in 'morphological alternations of enamel surface'.
Lead author Dr Joseph Greenwall-Cohen said: 'Not all bleaching products are the same and not all bleaching products are safe.'
He urged the public to 'undertake more caution in selecting bleaching or whitening products they apply to their teeth'.
Professor Damien Walmsley, of the British Dental Association, said: 'The lack of clarity over chemicals used in over-the-counter and online products means you could be gambling with your teeth.'
The British Dental Bleaching Society, which commissioned the study, said it was concerned over-the-counter products could be harmful and advised anyone wishing to have their teeth whitened to see their dentist