Everyone these days seems to want a gleaming set of pearly white teeth. Having the perfect Hollywood smile has created the multi-billion-dollar global teeth-whitening industry. However, not all is shiny and bright behind this business. A new report from the BBC states that illegal teeth-whitening beauticians are putting their customers at risk of serious health problems. These include burnt gums and lips, blisters and lost teeth. The BBC reports that the General Dental Council in the UK reported a 26 per cent increase in complaints last year from people who had suffered problems after teeth-whitening procedures. In many cases, the people performing the teeth whitening were untrained and unqualified.
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The teeth-whitening industry in the UK is regulated and the practice can only be performed by professionals who have registered with the General Dental Council. The BBC carried out an undercover investigation, which unearthed "thousands" of ill-qualified teeth-whitening practitioners. Two BBC researchers went undercover and paid nearly $400 each to attend a teeth-whitening course at a London beauty college. The course lasted just five hours. The researchers received a certificate of attendance and were told they could earn $100 an hour to treat customers. Anyone attending these courses and setting up their own businesses would be doing so illegally and they could end up with a criminal record.