In recent months there have been some particularly harmful trends widely shared on TikTok which will cause more harm than good to your pearly whites.
Home Veneer Preps
Dentists are urging young people to do their research before considering invasive dentistry. As one dentist explained, this is not standard preparation for veneers but for crowns, which are not recommended for young people.
Dr. Emi Mawson, a dentist in the English county of Cornwall, told followers these are not veneer preparations, these are crown preparations and there's a big difference. Not knowing this difference could be costing these influencers their smiles early in life, causing irreparable damage that could mean needing dentures by their 40s.
Another dentist, Zainab Mackie saying there’s a “major difference” in crowns and veneers. She explained that crowns are used for cavities that need to be taken out, or if teeth are already broken. Because crowns needed to be replaced in as little as 10 years, Mackie said people should avoid filing their teeth down to pegs.
Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri, a London dentist, said that heavy crown preparation could compromise the tooth's nerve, which is why dentists do not normally recommend them for healthy teeth.
This is only done if there were cavities to take out or the teeth were already broken.
Getting aggressive crown preparation at a young age could cause permanent damage to your teeth, having to get them replaced multiple times down the line, root canals, and eventually losing those teeth altogether.
Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening
A recent TikTok video of a user directly applying hydrogen peroxide onto her teeth has been viewed over 20 million times.
While hydrogen peroxide has been clinically proven to whiten teeth, it is an active ingredient, and so should be handled with care.
Hydrogen peroxide is used in a variety of oral care products, such as teeth whitening toothpaste and whitening strips, but by directly applying an uncontrolled amount in an uncontrolled way can seriously damage both teeth and gums.
The danger is that it will cause burns to the gum tissues and can significantly damage the enamel and nerves of your teeth. Teeth whitening toothpastes and products contain a very small and controlled amount of hydrogen peroxide.
"The level being used in these videos is far too highly concentrated to be used safely on the tooth." says Dr. Vanessa Creaven, founder of Spotlight Oral Care in the UK.
Nail File Teeth Filing
Another horrifying viral TikTok trend that has emerged this year, is of a teen filing her teeth with a nail file, in an attempt to re-shape and shave them down. This will no doubt cause irreversible, unhealthy damage to your teeth, removing tooth enamel.
Removing your natural tooth enamel will result in highly sensitive teeth, higher susceptibility to tooth decay, and inflammation that will likely require a dentist to intervene.
Commenting Dr. Lisa Creaven said: "Engaging in this trend is highly dangerous, as your teeth do not grow back as your hair and nails do.
Once your adult set of teeth grow, they are the teeth you will have for life. As a result, it’s important to treat them with care. This trend is unsafe and will likely result in permanent damage.
The final oral TikTok trend that is worrying the dentists, is a recently popular ‘hack’ that involves using your hair to floss in between your teeth.
Dr. Vanessa Creaven confirms that this is in fact not a ‘hack’, but an unsanitary and high-risk activity. Not properly flossing your teeth on a daily basis can result in a build-up of bacteria, and in some cases, gum disease.
Choosing the correct tools to do so is just as important - hair is definitely not one of those tools.
Commenting on this bizarre trend, Dr. Vanessa Creaven said: "Flossing plays a pivotal role in good oral health, and also overall health. 50 percent of the fillings a person receives in their lifetime start between the teeth at the point where the toothbrush can’t reach. Using an incorrect tool such as your hair, which is also unsanitary, will not guarantee you are reaching these hard-to-reach points in the teeth."