Teeth whitening, better known under the term "bleaching", is very fashionable these days – but should only be done by dentists. Andreas Moritz, head of the Bernhard Gottlieb University Dental Clinic of the MedUni Vienna, stresses this point. At the same time the expert warned against shopping online for teeth whitening preparations or turning to so-called bleaching studios.
"Bleaching should always be accompanied by a full dental examination," advises this dentist. For one thing there are certain groups of patients – such as people with medical reasons for exclusion – who should not undergo bleaching at all, says Moritz, also fillings or cracks in the enamel should be sorted out first so as to avoid health problems later: "And only a dentist can do that." Moreover, the expert explains, only when bleaching is performed by a dentist can you expect lasting results.
An EU regulation that came into effect at the end of 2012, regulates this exact thing: teeth-whitening preparations with a content of 0.1 to 6 percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), as used for bleaching, in line with the Cosmetics Regulation may only be issued to dentists. Preparations with more than six percent H2O2 are regarded as medical products anyway and may only be used by medical specialists. Says Moritz: "No significant bleaching effect can be anticipated from less than 0.1 percent hydrogen peroxide."