Is teeth whitening legal? The question everyone asks, but very few people understand


The short answer here is, it depends. If a Naturawhite trained teeth whitener is offering our self-service teeth whitening process, with our 100% safe whitening products, then it is completely legal. This is covered by the European Council Directive on Cosmetic Products 2011/84 EU. The key piece of information here is that, we do not offer a dental teeth whitening procedure, this is a cosmetic teeth whitening offering only.

Only dentists are allowed to give teeth whitening treatments, as these are classed as ‘dentistry’. Offering a self-service teeth whitening product is in a completely different ballpark and has a proven legal track record.

We DO NOT touch the customer’s mouth, teeth or gums; provide advice, recommendations or a diagnosis. Our training heavily emphasises this and we are proud to be leading the way forward, for a safe and legal cosmetic teeth whitening industry.

We use a non-peroxide gel in a pre-filled syringe; this is a safe, legal and an effective alternative to peroxide gels for the whitening of teeth.

The Teeth Whitening Law

Tooth whitening products were confirmed as being cosmetics on 28th June 2001 by the House of Lords ruling in the case of Optident Limited and another V. the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. This means that according to the teeth whitening law in the UK, this process falls under the EU Cosmetics Directive (implemented in the UK by the UK Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996) and permits the use of products containing or releasing up to 0.1% peroxide.

In simple terms, the ruling means that dentists and non-dentists can both offer a self-service teeth whitening product with 0.1% or less Hydrogen Peroxide gel without breaking the law. If you combine this with a self-service method, without misrepresenting yourself as a dental professional, then you have broken no laws.

At Naturawhite customer safety is our number one priority and we pride ourselves on offering a product and process which is completely legal. Many companies do not offer training to their business partners, we do, and we prioritise training to ensure that our brand ambassadors are offering the self-service teeth whitening product to their customers safely and legally. We also offer fully comprehensive insurance through an FCA Regulated 3rd party insurer which will cover Product, Treatment and Public Liability.

Who are the GDC and why are they prosecuting people?

The General Dental Council (GDC) is an organisation which regulates dental professionals in the United Kingdom. It keeps an up-to-date register of all qualified dentists and other dental care professionals. It was set up to maintain standards in UK dentistry, with the aims of protecting the general public from unqualified dental professionals.

The GDC currently holds the belief that tooth whitening, regardless of the gel or methodology used, should be considered the act of dentistry and that it should, therefore, be restricted to dental professionals only. However, this position clearly contradicts the provisions of European Directive 2011/84/EU, which states that a dental background is only, required when gels of Hydrogen Peroxide are used between 0.1% and 6% H2O2 and not when they contain less than 0.1%.

As a result, sadly, they have launched a highly aggressive and misleading PR campaign in recent months, which is causing concern amongst consumers that teeth whitening should only be performed by qualified dentists.

There is some speculation the reason behind the campaign is because some dentists have been quick to realise the financial benefits gained from the growing popularity of un-regulated, non-surgical cosmetic treatments, as well as Botox, skin peels, dermal fillers and lip enhancements, which we are seeing being offered at entrepreneurial dental surgeries up and down the country.

The bottom line…

Operate within the law and in line with Naturawhite’s training and policies and you will have a completely legal teeth whitening business.

If in doubt, call us today on 0131 552 7032

Further Reading

This is a continuation of a series of legal blogs we have been producing, if you would like to learn more then please follow the links below:

Tradeshows, Teeth Whitening and the Truth

How to Whiten Teeth – The Legal Way!

Watch the below video for an overview of the process of our UK Compliant, self-service legal teeth whitening:

Jack Cooper

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