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28 August 2020, 16:50 | Updated: 1 September 2020, 17:29
TikTok users have been using hydrogen peroxide to whiten their teeth at home.
A dentist has warned against the 'worrying' trend on TikTok that sees teenagers attempt to whiten their teeth using hydrogen peroxide.
According to a report by The Sun, some such videos have amassed more than 12 million views, and feature instructions on how to use the chemical - which is commonly used in hair bleach and fertilisers - instead of dentist-approved products.
Heart.co.uk spoke to Dr Emma Cunningham, dentist and founder of www.dr-emma.co.uk, about the trend, describing it as 'worrying'.
She told us: "This trend is worrying, as people are not aware of the risks and with young people being particularly impressionable I can already see how this will escalate. Whitening products prescribed by your dentist can go up to 16% and above with close fitting trays."
She added: "Hydrogen peroxide is a very effective product used for the whitening of teeth.
"Products containing peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, act as bleaching agents to change the colour of the teeth. It works by partially penetrating the layers of the teeth, removing compounds that cause discolouration. Some store-bought hydrogen peroxide has a 3% concentration.
"However, the use of peroxide is not advised without the supervision of a dentist using custom made whitening trays. The reason for this? If there is no seal between the tooth and the gingival tissue, there can be leakage of peroxide on to the tissues causing severe burns and in some cases irreversible damage."
Dr Kamala Aydazada, dentist and founder of www.kensingtoncosmeticdentist.co.uk, also advised on how you can safely whiten your teeth.
She told us: "There's certainly been an increasing demand in over-the-counter products, such as bleaching kits and teeth-whitening strips, during lockdown. From my experience, most of these systems simply do not work. Others, that may show some results, contain an unknown level of the bleach... often being higher than a safe threshold.
Dr Aydazada added: "I would encourage you not to use any whitening toothpaste, strips or any other similar products before you are able to seek advice from your dentist.
"These products are often highly abrasive to the surface of your teeth, may irritate the gums and can cause irreversible damage. If you happen to develop an adverse effect from any of these home systems, please seek immediate advice from your dentist."