A 22-year-old man in the U.K. has been left with a hole in his throat after using over-the-counter teeth whitening strips he purchased in hopes of emulating the pearly whites of his idol, movie star Channing Tatum.
Jake Barrett apparently had a severe allergic reaction to the Crest 3D White Whitestrips, which left him with a grape-sized sac of hydrogen peroxide under his tongue. The sac, according to doctors, could have burst and leaked peroxide down the back of Barrett’s throat.
“If that had happened, I would have got peroxide poisoning and died,” he was reported as saying by the Mirror Aug. 11.
He noticed the bulge soon after applying the strips, but thought that the penicillin he was taking for an unrelated problem would treat it. It was only after six days that he finally went to a hospital. He was then immediately rushed to a different hospital for a three-hour emergency operation to drain the sac.
Although Barrett says he feels “lucky to be alive,” he won’t be giving up on his dream of emulating Tatum’s gleaming smile; he’ll just stick to professional treatments instead. More than 82% of dental patients say they see a noticeable difference after professional tooth whitening.
“DIY beauty treatments are a complete hazard,” Barrett said. “I had no idea what was in the products or how to use them properly and the consequence was terrifying.”
Proctor and Gamble, which owns Crest, released a statement saying that “We’re sorry to hear about Mr. Bartlett’s [sic] experience and wish him a full recovery,” but that “Whilst not sold directly by PandG in the U.K., Crest Whitestrips have been available in the United States for more than 10 years, complying with all relevant legislation including peroxide levels. They are safe to use when applied as indicated on the packaging.”
The American Dental Association does recognize some tooth whitening products as safe, but recommends they be used only after consultation with a dentist. That advice is echoed by several other medical sources.