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Health & Families

Europeans tighten law on teeth whitening products

While Americans whiten their teeth at a kiosk in a shopping mall, Europeans are facing tougher restrictions to get their smiles pearly white.

On September 20, the European Commission announced new regulations - four years in the making - clamping down on teeth whitening kits, including strips, gels, and trays containing higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.

Whitening products over 0.1 percent and less than 6 percent hydrogen peroxide now will only be available to patients following an examination and an initial treatment session carried out by a dentist. Products containing more than 6 percent are deemed illegal.

The rationale behind the move is consumer safety, noted Dr. Stuart Johnston, chair of the BDA’s Representative Body, in a statement: "This long-awaited decision is good for dentists and their patients. It puts patient safety first by recognising the importance of examination by a dentist before whitening treatments are provided."