January 10, 2013
Edited January 11, 2013
The Australian Dental Industry Association (AIDA) has assured once again that more whitening kits will not be pulled from the shelves and will remain available for consumer use.
Earlier this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) clarified the safety requirements for teeth whitening products, which took whitening kits that contained 6% or more of hydrogen peroxide and 18% or more of carbamide peroxide off the shelves. After this change, whitening kits with these levels were only available to dentists for use in clinics – not for take-home use by consumers.
As a comparison, Crest Whitestrips Professional, which is available over the counter in the U.S., contains 6.5% hydrogen peroxide per upper strip. The American Dental Association claims that 10% of carbon peroxide yields 3.5% of hydrogen peroxide, so with that formula, Crest Whitestrips Professional should have 19% of carbamide peroxide per upper strip. Colgate Visible White, which comes in hydrogen peroxide concentrations of 5%, 7%, and 9%, should contain 14%, 20%, and 26% of carbamide peroxide, respectively – way above what is currently allowed on the shelves in Australia.
The risk with higher levels of peroxide is an increase in tooth sensitivity, but it’s also known that more peroxide yields faster results. (It’s for this reason that the American Dental Association officially recommends that consumers interested in over-the-counter whitening products consult their dentist first.)
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has proposed another change to the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP), which currently lists whitening kits that contain 6% or more of hydrogen peroxide and 18% or more of carbamide peroxide in Appendix C of the SUSMP – meaning they’re only available for dentists to use. The change, proposed by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), requested that whitening kits containing 3-6% of hydrogen peroxide and 9-18% of carbamide peroxide be accessible to consumers for at-home use only after receiving a dentist’s permission, banning over-the-counter sales of some whitening kits.
The American Dental Industry Association (ADIA) lobbied against this change.
Both proposals, those of the ADA and of the ADIA, were considered at a joint meeting of the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) and the Advisory Committee on Chemicals Scheduling (ACCS) in late 2012. They recently issued their decision, rejecting the ADA proposal and accepting the ADIA submission that the current listings of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide in the SUSMP were appropriate and exempting the rule that whitening preparations containing 18% or less of carbamide peroxide and 6% or less of hydrogen peroxide be supplied only for the in-office use of dentists.
This decision will be implemented on May 1, 2013.
For more information, visit the ADIA.