Illegal teeth whitening caused 'excruciating pain'

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A number of beauticians in London are performing illegal teeth-whitening procedures, which can leave patients in crippling pain if they go wrong.

One place was secretly filmed by BBC London using illegal levels of the hydrogen peroxide at a strength of 25%.

The maximum legal strength useable by a registered dentist in the UK is 6%. If used incorrectly it can cause tooth loss, burns and blisters.

The General Dental Council (GDC) has seen illegal treatments rise, it said.

Only dentists and registered professionals can do the procedures on customers with dentist prescriptions.

Whitening products available on the high street may contain up to 0.01% of the chemical.

Richard Grieveson said 35% hydrogen peroxide was used on him by a beautician not filmed by the BBC.

"It can only be described as a really, really, sharp excruciating pain. And it went on for a good 45 minutes," he said.

"A few days later my mouth became very raw and very sensitive. Basically it was like open sores."

'Lives at risk'

BBC London identified a number of places in the capital providing illegal teeth whitening treatments.

One was Plaistow beautician Fran Lowe, who was filmed using 25% hydrogen peroxide and admitted knowing at the time it was illegal to do so.

She charged £75 for the treatment and carried it out at home. She also offered teeth scraping - a procedure that should only be carried out by a dental professional.

In addition, Ms Lowe sold the reporter a tube of carbamide peroxide, a product which when used in the whitening procedure breaks down to 7% hydrogen peroxide.

She later denied using peroxide gels and claims she did so to obtain a sale. She told the BBC she had not known she was breaking the law and had stopped providing the treatment.

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Dental health