Instagram generation putting their teeth at risk

Instagram generation putting their oral health at riskThe Instagram generation are putting their oral health at risk, a letter from dentists to the Daily Telegraph has warned.

Over 1,000 dentists have signed the letter highlighting the risks associated with illegal teeth whitening and straightening products.

The letter points to a lack of investment in dentistry leaving the public ‘exposed to risks’.

‘We’ve seen a big increase in straightening in the last year,’ Dr Tony Kilcoyne, a dentist on the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee, who co-ordinated the signatures, said.

‘Whitening has been increasingly popular for a few years, with Instagram and social media making people like the idea more.

‘The problem is people are doing this illegally, by beauticians, hairdressers, or buying kits online.

‘This can result in major damage – to the bones, the roots, the nerves.

‘We are seeing more patients coming to us as a result of this.’

Buried in bureaucracy

Difficulties in getting an NHS dental appointment is forcing patients to turn to charities to get dental treatment.

And an Instagram generation looking to create the ‘perfect smiles’ they see on reality TV are increasingly turning to beauticians, hairdressers and DIY kits, the letter warns.

Increasing bureaucracy is burying dentists, it continues, therefore leaving little time to see more patients.

‘We work with one arm tied behind our backs,’ the letter says.

‘While being too easily bypassed by openly compromised or even illegal providers of whitening and braces, with patients not even visiting a properly registered dentist face to face first.

‘It makes a mockery of our high standards, training and care but worse, leaves the public exposed to risks.’

Illegal practice

The General Dental Council prosecuted 36 people last year for illegally practising dentistry.

Illegal tooth whitening made up 30 of these.

The High Court case of GDC versus Jamous says ‘carrying out procedures designed to improve the aesthetic appearance of teeth amounts to the practice of dentistry’ and therefore falls under the GDC’s remit.

‘Protecting the public is our primary purpose,’ a GDC spokesperson told

‘We take illegal practice extremely seriously due to the risk it represents to patient safety.

‘Where the public suspects illegal practice, we continue to urge them to report it to us.

‘We investigate every report we receive and, where appropriate, prosecute those responsible.’

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