Soldiers’ taste for teeth whitening has caused problems for army dentists who are seeing a rise in complaints.
The Telegraph understands that there has been an increased number of military personnel asking about teeth whitening as a treatment option “because it is becoming more mainstream”.
A defence insider added that “some personnel have also enquired as to whether potential treatment would be covered under Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC)”.
The uptick in interest led Dental Officer Major Christoph Harper, of the Royal Army Dental Corps, to pen an article in Soldier magazine in a bid to warn troops not to get ‘unnaturally’ sparkly white teeth like celebrities and influencers due to damage it can cause to teeth and gums.
Major Harper said: “Don’t risk it. Such products may contain illegal unlicensed substances like acids or higher concentration bleaching agents, which greatly increase the risk of irreversible damage to your teeth and mouth.
“Dental bleaching is regulated by UK law and it is illegal for dentists to use bleaching agents containing stronger than six percent hydrogen peroxide.”
As part of the DPHC troops will only be treated where tooth discolouration has been caused by trauma infection or developmental defects.
It will not be done when there is no clinical need or when the staining has been causes by poor levels of oral hygiene or smoking.
The Defence source added Major Harper’s piece was “also about educating them that should they wish to pursue this outside of the military, they do so with a registered dentist rather than products from the internet”.
They added that it “was to address the rise in interest amongst personnel which is a reflection of the growing trend more widely”.
A recent survey showed almost a quarter of a million online inquiries for teeth whitening are made every year from people in London.
The poll for expressdentist.com said people from Birmingham are the second most likely to get their teeth whitened, making 34,000 inquiries to do so a year.
Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool came joint third with 19,200 inquiries a year.