The British Dental Association (BDA) is seeking an urgent meeting with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to resolve concerns about the position trading standards officers are adopting in relation to the supply of teeth whitening products.

The BDA is aware that a current investigation by trading standards at Essex County Council is having a major impact on the availability of hydrogen peroxide-based whitening products to dentists, which adversely affects their ability to provide whitening treatments to patients. This supply problem could mean that patients instead seek whitening treatments from non-dental professionals, which is illegal and dangerous, the BDA believes.

The BDA would like to see the previous low-key approach to enforcement around the supply of whitening products to dental professionals previously advised by LACORS and taken by trading standards re-instated. The BDA is also seeking progress on the ongoing review of the European Union's review of the EU Cosmetics Directive, which it hopes will provide a sensible legal framework for the provision of tooth whitening products in the UK.

Stuart Johnston, Chair of the BDA's Representative Body, said:

"The recently-changed approach to the supply of whitening products, and particularly the impact the investigation being undertaken in Essex is having, is a significant concern for patient safety. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency and the previously adopted low-key approach to supply to dental professionals reinstated. A significant body of evidence demonstrates the safety of whitening products when used by trained dental professionals. We urge trading standards officers to adopt a pragmatic approach that recognises this and puts patient safety first."


1. The General Dental Council has this year successfully prosecuted a non-dental professional for performing whitening treatments.

British Dental Association (BDA)