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Dental TikTok trends to avoid

Posted on April 6, 2023 in Healthy You

Tik Tok

The do-it-yourself (DIY) era is here, thanks to television and social media showcasing how non-professionals can pull off all sorts of projects and save a lot of money in the process. But it’s one thing to DIY your bathroom remodel and quite another to DIY your smile, and TikTok is chock full of at-home dental experiments.

TikTok is a social media video app that allows its users to create and share short videos. Some people have taken to TikTok to share their ideas around DIY dental treatments, but the problem is they can result in a lot of pain and problems down the line.

TikTok dental trends to avoid

Two very concerning TikTok dental trends involve at-home orthodontics (that is, trying to replicate teeth bracing and alignment) and the use of dental-grade products at home.

On the orthodontics side, some users’ videos went viral for using the seemingly simple approach of using a nail file on adjacent teeth to give the teeth a straighter look. This involves shaving down the tooth enamel (the other part of the tooth). This damage is irreversible, as the enamel can never grow back naturally. Wearing down enamel may lead to tooth pain and sensitivity, as well as tooth discoloration.

Another dangerous at-home trend is binding two teeth together with rubber or elastic bands to close teeth gaps. Some users have found that this trick appears to help, but what they don’t see is what this does underneath the surface of the teeth, as this type of haphazard tooth-moving hack can increase your risk of nerve root problems, gum disease and loose teeth (and ultimately tooth loss).

Yet another trend to avoid is the use of dental-grade products, such as dental cement. Buying these products is particularly dangerous because it gives people the false impression that they may replicate a true dental procedure simply because they’re using clinical-level tools. But these products require training by a clinical professional, and using them without that training may cause irreversible damage and at best, will likely cost you money, as you’ll need to front the cost for the product and then pay a dentist to fix the problem (which even a trained dentist may not be able to do).

Teeth are more complicated than you think

People often don’t realize that teeth are living structures in your body. They require blood flow, contain nerves that can trigger pain when irritated, and the outer enamel cannot grow back if you wear it down with a filing device. That means you can cause damage to your mouth with a DIY dental hack that can’t be reversed even if you see a dentist to fix it.

When a dental clinician works on your teeth, they are trained to understand the workings of all the structures within your mouth, but if you’re filing your teeth away carelessly in an attempt to make them look straighter or binding them together with a rubber band to close a gap between teeth, you are doing so without this essential clinical knowledge. And that can lead to a lot of regrets for you down the line.

Check your doc before TikTok

Your dental health means more than pearly white teeth – it’s crucial to your overall health and your self esteem. Don’t experiment on your mouth based on what you see on social media. Many social media creators make money from their videos, and creating the most off-the-wall content is a way for them to go viral and bring in extra cash. Don’t fall for promises in a video that could end up harming your long-term oral health.

Instead, entrust the health of your mouth to a trained dental professional who understands the latest dental research. In many cases, you will need to see a dentist to fix your botched dental DIY project, and that can cost you a lot of unnecessary pain and erase any intended cost savings.

DIY dental trends may look too good to be true, and they often are. If you’re interested in exploring an at-home dental trend, check with your dentist first to get an expert opinion. And if you need to find a dentist near you, Delta Dental of Iowa’s Find a Provider tool can help. And remember: Twice-a-year preventive dental visits are covered at 100% on all Delta Dental of Iowa plans.


NBC News