Dentists are warning parents after a new TikTok trend has prompted children to use undiluted bleach for the purpose of whitening their teeth.
Videos uploaded to the popular social media app show users using food grade hydrogen peroxide, purchased online, as a form of mouthwash for up to a minute.
Videos on TikTok with the hashtag #teethwhitening have been viewed 280 million times, with users recommending this method as an alternative to expensive over the counter products.
What have dental experts said?
Under UK law, teeth whitening products can be sold directly to the public only if they contain no more than 0.1 per cent hydrogen peroxide.
Templehall Dental Practice in Kirkcaldy posted a warning to parents on Facebook about the dangers of the trend.
The post says, “Teenagers are buying bottles of food grade hydrogen peroxide from Amazon with the purpose of using it as a mouthwash to in effect bleach their teeth. This is far from safe.
“The solution they are buying is not for use in this way. It is highly toxic and dangerous and will cause severe pain and damage to both teeth and gums.”
Whitening your teeth is legal in the UK when performed by dentists or dental health professionals with appropriate products. Recipients must be 18 years or older.
Speaking to the BBC, The British Dental Association (BDA) said using the wrong products at home could cause “permanent damage.”
A representative continued by saying, “The BDA is concerned about the DIY trend to whiten teeth with levels of hydrogen peroxide that are higher than that permitted in over-the-counter products.
"Using higher concentrations unsupervised, as some videos advocate, raises the risk of damage to teeth and gums, including burns to the mouth, tooth and gum sensitivity, as well as irritated or inflamed gums."
Other dangerous TikTok trends
This dental scare comes after dermatology experts urged TikTok users against trying other potentially harmful beauty trends.
These have included scraping off moles at home by using chemicals, and using eyelash glue to make lips appear bigger.
Dr Ross Perrt, an NHS GP and medical director of Cosmedics skin clinic, said the removal of moles “needs to be done by a qualified doctor or dermatologist.”
He stressed, "Using chemicals or attempting to 'scrape' off a mole could lead to infections, bleeding, scarring and deformity of the area."