Australian dentists have said they are worried by the number of people coming to them with chemical burns and ulcers after using teeth-whitening products they saw being spruiked by celebrities and influencers online.
"The worst case we've seen in our practice is very severe gum burn, and it is a chemical burn," dentist Norah Ayad told the ABC.
"This patient had severe ulceration all over their mouth, because this bleach had come into contact with everywhere around their mouth, their cheeks, their lips, their tongue and all the way around their gumline.
"It took several weeks to resolve, and the patient was in a lot of pain."
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) receives about 13,000 reports each year about products, but since 2013 has only assessed 17 reports of injuries associated with DIY teeth-whitening products.
Updated 5 Aug 2019
Taking a toll on teeth
A top paediatric dentist says parents should stop feeding their kids ready meals and fizzy drinks after new figures show an increasing number of children are being hospitalised for dental cavities.
Dr Sarah Raphael, an advocacy and policy advisor for Australian Dental Association NSW said in The Manly Daily (28/9/2019) that many busy parents are opting for easy snacks and ready meals, which are often loaded with hidden sugars.
The one thing all parents could do was to limit their children's drinks to just water or milk. "If the only thing parents changed was to give their kids tap water they would be lowering the risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes and dental decay," she said.
Australian Dental Association warns of dangers of DIY teeth-whitening products
According to Ian Meyers, a dentist in Brisbane and the president-elect of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons during an interview for ABC Life Program (September 2019), knowing why the teeth are dark and stained can help determine the best way to whiten them.
"If you have someone who just has stains on their teeth, you can just use normal toothpaste and cleaning agents to remove them — detergents and mild abrasives.
"If you have internal staining, it comes down more to the bleaching and usually requires hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide — a slow-release formula."
Dr Holden says carbamide peroxide has a bleaching effect on staining and discoloration both on the inside and outside of the teeth.
If you don't know the cause of your less-than-celebrity-status choppers, you might not get the desired result.
To find that out, you need to see a dental professional. If your mouth is in good health, a dental practitioner will recommended either in-chair treatment or at-home treatment for whitening.
The in-chair treatments typically use slightly stronger products to lift the shade of the teeth, and are often activated by light, those effects are quick but "expensive", he says.
Many dental practitioners also offer tray-based systems where they make a custom tray to fit an individual patient's teeth, and then patients are able to use the trays to place whitening gel onto the tooth surfaces at home." The specially-made tray is important because it makes sure the gel doesn't go where it shouldn't, which can otherwise irritate gums.
A dentist will also make sure your mouth is healthy and fit for whitening.