Having your teeth whitened can completely transform your appearance - which could be why ten times more people are bleaching their teeth now compared with five years ago. The fact that affordable tooth whitening kits (which cost a fraction of the price you'd pay for a professional treatment at the dentist's) are easy to buy these days could also have something to do with their popularity.
But leading dentist are warning DIY home whitening kits can be harmful, especially those that contain ingredients such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and ash. Why? Because they may destroy tooth enamel as well as damage your gums.
No wonder dentists are up in arms over the type of whitening kits sold on the high street and on the internet. With so many people whitening their teeth at home, you could argue that dentists are losing out. But who - apart from the celebs who have made tooth whitening so incredibly popular - can afford £500 or more for a professional bleaching treatment (or £1,000 plus if you're having laser whitening)?
The problem may stem from the fact that many people use DIY whitening kits to boost their smile on too regular a basis, say experts, with a growing number becoming addicted to bleaching their teeth.
And when whitening products are used in excess, that's when they start wearing away at the tooth enamel. Experts also claim the trays that are used with many home whitening kits don't fit properly, so the gel can leak out and burn your gums.
Do you use home whitening kits? Will this warning from dentists make you think before using them again?