Teeth Whitening Is Helpful, Essential, and… Illegal?

Tooth whitening is either the restoration of a natural tooth shade or whitening beyond the original shade.

It’s estimated that roughly 39 million Americans use some sort of teeth whitener. Whether it’s by scheduling regular visits with dental professionals to simply brushing with teeth-whitening dentist-recommended products; this process is important for people of all ages. In Scotland, though having healthy and nice-looking teeth is just as important, there are some legal issues pertaining to helping people whiten their teeth.

According to BBC Scotland, the General Dental Council (GDC) states that only registered dentists should carry out teeth whitening procedures.

Brenda McFadyen was fined $1,273 (1,000 pounds) after pleading guilty to the illegal practice of dentistry. McFadyen, 63, said she was angry after being prosecuted because she was just trying to help people achieve white, nice-looking smiles.

“I had been whitening for three or four years,” she said. “In my eyes, I wasn’t doing anything illegal but had to go to court and plead guilty and I was hit with a [$1,273] fine.”

In Scotland, one in eight people have had their teeth whitened — but it’s actually against the law for anyone to practice dentistry that is not registered with the GDC, which regulates the entire dental industry across the United Kingdom.

People of all ages can experience various kinds of tooth decay and discoloration — especially children with a sweet tooth. Tooth decay is actually 20 times more common than diabetes and five times more common than childhood asthma. In fact, more than 40% of children have dental cavities by the time they reach kindergarten age.

McFadyen was charged under the Dentists Act of 1984. She had no idea she was breaking the law until the police knocked on her door.

“It was just a bit of extra income,” Mcfadden added. “We are both retired, you’re trying your best to get on in life. And at my age, this is what I’ve had to go through. They’ve taken my name and they’ve ruined it.”

Though everyone wants to achieve a nice, white, healthy smile, it’s essential to have dental professionals assist with these procedures — no matter how trusted and well-meaning a private individual is.

Across the board, the average time people wait before scheduling another dental appointment is three years. No matter your dental situation, however, you should visit a dental professional much more often — at least once or twice a year.

“The law in relation to tooth whitening is very clear and the only way you can have it safely done is through a registered dentist,” added Katie Spears, head of criminal enforcement.

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