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Protect your smile campaign is launched as Belfast courts clamp down on rogue teeth whitener

6 June 2019

The BDA applauds the Protect Your Smile campaign launched this week by the Department for the Economy, the Trading Standards Service in Northern Ireland, and the Environmental Health departments of 11 district councils, warning the public of the dangers of illegal teeth whitening.

This includes a video highlighting the risks of tooth whitening products and services and advises people to protect their smile by speaking to their dentist before getting their teeth whitened. 

The public are also advised that if they come across any individual providing tooth whitening who they believe is not registered with the General Dental Council, or any tooth whitening product which may be illegal, to contact the Environmental Health department at their local council or speak to the Trading Standards Service by calling Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.

The launch of the Protect Your Smile campaign coincides with the sentencing of the much-publicised case of Samuel Irvine Madine, who has repeatedly flouted the law on teeth whitening. In a case brought by Belfast City Council, the Belfast Magistrates' Court recently sentenced him to 12 months' probation and £1,500 fine on charges relating to the use and supply of tooth whitening products. 

The BDA has long been campaigning to ensure that tooth whitening remain the practise of dentistry. Our comments on the levels on hydrogen peroxide being used in illegal tooth whitening practices were included in the BBC's coverage in the Irvine Madine case. We said that such high-levels of hydrogen peroxide were likely to cause irreparable harm to teeth and gums, and that Irvine Madine has a reckless disregard for his patient's health.

We were invited to comment following the sentencing, and BDA spokesperson and Specialist in Oral Surgery, Martin Curran told BBC Northern Ireland Newsline that he hoped the threat of a custodial sentence will put others off carrying out illegal teeth whitening.

Martin was also interviewed in a longer segment for BBC Radio Ulster and Foyle (listen from 50m10s) on which he discussed the risks of the concentration used by Mr Irvine Madine. He advised people to visit their dentist if they want to improve their smile, explaining the precautions dentists take and the regulation involved.


We have resources, for both practitioners and the public regarding teeth whitening including online CPD, posters and advice sheets.

The GDC also provides information on teeth whitening for patients.



BDA Northern Ireland

BDA Northern Ireland supports, represents and promotes, the interests of all dentists working in Northern Ireland. Working with elected committee members, we negotiate on behalf of the profession on terms and conditions, pay and contracts. Join us.