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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Beware of Fake Dental Products

Dr. Vincent Wan


Everyone buys things online these days.  Everything is available unlike the limited choices and quantities at your average shop at the local shopping centre.  You can get what you want delivered straight to your door too.

Would you buy everything online?  I know I buy clothes and toys online.  How about food and medications?  Would you buy these online?

The danger of buying things online is that what you get may be not what you wanted.  You can’t pick up the item in your hands and inspect it closely with your eyes like at the local shop.  You are usually limited to a brief description of the item and maybe a few photos.

The real danger is with items you put in your body not just on your body.  You might be upset if a shirt you ordered online was not the colour you thought the photo showed.  However, you may become very sick from some online vitamins you swallowed which were actually a fake and poisonous.

This has been a problem for the dental field as well.  Patients may buy electric toothbrushes, toothpastes and whitening gels online for example.  They may think they are getting a quality product, but in reality a dud.  There have been cases of rechargeable electric toothbrushes overheating due to battery issues, with a risk of burning the hand or mouth.  You may not detect a problem with a fake toothpaste, but unregulated whitening products have caused irreversible damage to the teeth and gums instead of whitening.

There are currently very few regulations regarding what can be sold on the internet.  However, this may be about to change regarding therapeutic goods sold online.  Hopefully, proposals to amend the Therapeutic Goods Act will proceed and offer some reassurance to consumers when they buy health products online.