Patients Should Steer Clear of DIY TikTok Dentistry
As more people turn to social media for all things trending, oral health professionals should be prepared to remind patients that not all TikTok trends should be followed, especially do-it-yourself (DIY) dentistry.
As more people turn to social media for all things trending, oral health professionals should be prepared to remind patients that not all TikTok trends should be followed, especially do-it-yourself (DIY) dentistry. Mimicking viral oral health trends may result in long-lasting negative oral health effects for those who try these ill-advised dental treatments at home.
Vampire fangs, shark teeth, flossing with hair, teeth whitening and teeth shaving are some of the most popular TikTok viral dental trends that people are copying. It may take only a few minutes to glue fake fangs to your teeth or place hydrogen peroxide on your teeth for a bright, white smile, but it can take multiple dental procedures to fix the damage.
“I see patients in my private practice and on a teledental platform and the trend that I’ve seen the most is ‘do it yourself teeth whitening with bleach,” explains Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, who also sees patients in her private practice in Illinois and virtually on The TeleDentists. “The damage can range from tooth sensitivity to temporary irritation or painful chemical burns on the gingiva. There is the potential to do serious harm to the tooth structure and gingiva that can lead to nerve damage in which the body’s own cells attack and dissolve the tooth.”
People may require costly veneers, dentures, crowns, dental implants, or root canal treatment to fix the problems caused by these dental hacks that can potentially alter tooth structure, making them more susceptible to infections, caries, and dentinal hypersensitivity.
To prevent patients from jumping on these DIY trends, dental professionals must educate patients on the ways these trends impact oral health and provide resources and services that are safe, affordable and convenient. For example, clinicians can discuss the latest advances in tooth whitening and clear aligner therapy.
Staying up on the latest social media dental trends is also a must for dental providers.
“Two extremely dangerous trends that I’ve seen on social media are people using glue, pieces of metal or plastic jewelry and rubber bands to create fake braces, and people using rubber ‘exercisers’ to change the appearance of their jawlines,” she says. “Adhering fake braces to teeth or using devices that build up the masseter muscles in the jawline apply unnecessary forces that can shift teeth and cause trauma to the jaw. This can also lead to muscle strain, pain, temporomandibular joint disorders, frozen jaw joint, or permanent disfigurement.”
Clinicians can remind patients to always consult their dentists or other licensed oral health professionals when they have oral health-related questions.