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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Smoke ban prompts more teeth work
Image of white teeth
More people want a "Hollywood smile"
The number of people opting for tooth whitening has soared since the smoking ban in England came into force in July.

A survey by the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) found some dental practices had recorded a 40% increase in demand.

On average, demand for tooth whitening has risen by 12% since the ban.

Tooth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatment, followed by white fillings, veneers, crowns and bridges.

Christopher Orr, a dentist and BACD president, said: "It appears people are smoking less now due to the ban, so it is not a surprise that many would like an improved smile to go with their better health.

"Once they reduce or even stop their consumption of cigarettes altogether, people notice the visible damage done to their teeth and for the first time feel confident enough to do something about it.

"Patients also realise that the cost savings of quitting smoking mean they can treat themselves to a cosmetic procedure."

A previous BACD survey found that four out of five people were unhappy with their smiles and up to a fifth concealed their teeth in photos.

A survey published by the Trading Standards Institute earlier this year found many tooth whitening kits contain illegally high levels of the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide.

In one case the legal limit was exceeded by a factor of 230 times.

Hydrogen peroxide, commonly used as a hair dye, can aggravate gum disease and cause sensitive teeth - or even chemical burns to the mouth.

A British Dental Association spokesperson said: "Tooth whitening can dramatically improve the appearance of your teeth, creating the smile many people desire.

"But it is important that whitening is always carried out in consultation with your dentist, since he or she will check your oral health before starting treatment."

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