Given the undeniable influence that the Love Island aesthetic has had on what the UK public finds optimally attractive, it makes sense that more people than ever are chasing perfect, white teeth that would make Molly-Mae reach for the Colgate.
But a new BBC investigation has uncovered some alarming information about illegal teeth whitening operations – that come with hefty health risks. These seem to be on the rise: Said illegal procedures increased by 26% last year, according to General Dental Council figures analysed by the BBC.
In a story set to air tonight, the team went undercover at the London School of Nails and Beauty, to attend a course in 'teeth whitening' which lasted just five hours. Here, attendees were told they could earn 'from £80 upwards per session' after receiving a certificate. They were told that this allowed them to set up their own businesses and give people teeth whitening treatments.
In reality, teeth whitening can only be legally performed by people registered with the General Dental Council (GDC).
This matters – 'untrained beauticians using teeth-whitening kits have been known to cause tooth loss, burns and blisters,' says the BBC.
Dr Ben Atkins, president of the Oral Health Foundation, said: 'When things go wrong in dentistry, they can really go wrong. I've been that dentist with the full back up service when the patient's had that heart attack.
'It would be catastrophic for the patient and the person who's been trained and told it's legal to do it.'
A spokesperson for the General Dental Council said: 'Handing an individual a tooth whitening tray and advising them on application, amongst other things, could constitute the giving of 'advice or attendance' and in those circumstances would be a criminal offence.'
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for The British Dental Association (BDA) said 'sham' schools preyed 'on vulnerabilities of beauticians and others'.
People attending these schools were putting themselves at risk of ending up in jail or being fined, according to Dr Len D'Cruz from the BDA.
This story will be featured on BBC London TV News and Inside Out on BBC One in London on Monday 10 February at 19:30.
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