Experts warn against ‘extremely dangerous’ TikTok teeth bleaching hack
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Ask any millennial and they’ll tell you that TikTok is a gold mine for nifty life hacks, lunch recipes and five-star beauty finds. But sometimes these tutorials can turn sinister, as is the case with a very dangerous teeth bleaching “hack” that’s doing the rounds on the platform.
Having noticed that the chemical is often found in at-home whitening products, some people are buying hydrogen peroxide solution online and using it as mouthwash or applying it directly to their teeth in a bid to whiten them.
Not surprisingly, experts are warning against the trend and its potential for serious harm. Horrified dentists have pointed out that using hydrogen peroxide unsupervised is highly dangerous and absolutely not a recommended method of at-home whitening.
“This is extremely worrying that people are willing to put their health at risk for the sake of cosmetics like this and are buying hydrogen peroxide,” explains cosmetic dentistDr Krystyna Wilczynski . “It is incredibly unsafe and we as dentists are forever ensuring that we provide safe, registered and licensed FDA-approved products to our patients.”
According to Dr Krystyna, the maximum legal percentage of carbamide peroxide (a compound of hydrogen peroxide and urea) in gel form is 16%.
“If this or hydrogen peroxide is inappropriately used in the mouth, it can lead to gum irritation which can in turn lead to gum recession, tooth sensitivity and worst case scenario, tooth loss. It can also damage the enamel and cause severe hypersensitivity.”
When teeth are whitened by a professional, on the other hand, they’ll use custom-made trays to ensure the chemicals are spread evenly and safely over your teeth. “These are vacuum formed to fit the patients teeth perfectly and are also designed to have an even reservoir over the front surface of the teeth to evenly spread the bleach,” Dr Krystyna explains.
“This means no uneven bleaching, patches or overspill into the gums. This is a crucial part of whitening, as you need a whitening tray to hold the gel onto the tooth.”
It goes without saying that using professional teeth whitening products that have been formulated to the legal, safe requirements is essential. And when it comes to at-home whitening gel kits, using the accompanying trays will help to prevent the strong solutions from coming into contact with anywhere that’s not your teeth.
“As hydrogen peroxide is a chemical, it is also extremely dangerous if you swallow too much,” our doctor adds. In short, never try “create your own” when it comes to at-home teeth whitening and leave it to the professionals to formulate these products.
Here are three at-home options to help brighten the appearance of your teeth if you can’t quite stretch to a professional-level treatment with your dentist. Remember to always read (and follow) the accompanying safety instructions before using any teeth whitening products.
Spotlight Oral Care Toothpaste for Whitening Teeth, full size, worth £9.50 and in the OK! Beauty Edit here
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Created by dentists, this toothpaste contains a safe amount of hydrogen peroxide to gradually whiten your teeth over time.
Good news: you can get a full-size version of the toothpaste, worth £9.50, in this month’s OK! Beauty Edit curated by Katie Piper. You’ll receive this alongside five other products (worth £90 in total) for just £7.50 if you’re a first time subscriber, £15 per monthly box thereafter.
Rapid White Instant White Pen and Lip Gloss Duo, £8 here
Ideal for brightening your smile on the go, this 2-in-1 pen and lip gloss use blue pigments to temporarily counter yellow tones in your teeth for a whiter-looking smile.
Understandably the results aren’t that dramatic, but this product is considerably softer on the old bank balance than a course of whitening for an affordable quick fix.
Wisdom Intense White Charcoal Whitening Strips, £30 here
Claiming to leave your teeth six shades whiter in just five days, these patented whitening strips are also infused with charcoal for an extra step in neutralising discolouration.
Get the Katie Piper OK! Beauty Edit for just £7.50 here when you enter the code 50FIRSTBOX at the checkout.
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