Whitening regulations focus of APPG for Dentistry meeting

30 October 2012

On the eve of new laws on tooth whitening coming into force in the UK, a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dentistry heard of the damage that can be done when the procedure is carried out by non-dentists, and what impact the new laws are likely to have. Dr Stuart Johnston, Chair of the Council of European Dentists’ working group on tooth whitening and member of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee, spoke to the APPG on the 30 October (2012) about the years-long struggle to get the EU Cosmetics Directive amended, and explained that it will now be illegal to supply concentrated tooth-whitening products to non-dentists. Dr Johnston also explained that Trading Standards will have a key role to play in enforcing the new laws, and expressed concern that without central co-ordination there is a danger that there will be variations in enforcement across the country. Gregory Stafford and Tessa Nejranowski of the General Dental Council explained that the GDC takes the issue of tooth whitening by non-dentists extremely seriously, but a lack of investigative powers often prevents them from gathering the evidence they need to pursue a prosecution. In addition to bringing prosecutions when possible – a case is due to go to be heard later this month – the GDC works in partnership with trading standards, the police and the Advertising Standards Agency to enforce the law on tooth whitening. They have also distributed an information leaflet to educate the public on the importance of having teeth whitening carried out by qualified practitioners. The GDC speakers also reiterated the organisation’s call for an increase in the size of fine that can be imposed against non-dental professionals who perform whitening, branding the current maximum £5,000 derisory.

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