When we think of trends, we usually think of fashion. But dental trends are a real thing, and in the last year two, we’ve seen some dangerous and concerning dental trends pop up on social media. Of course, some of them are totally harmless or even beneficial, so we thought it was worth addressing some of them in a blog post so we could share our opinion with you!
Home Whitening Treatments
There’s a difference between Crest Whitestrips and other DIY whiteners. We’ve heard of people applying lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and/or baking soda to their teeth because of their natural whitening effects. However, these household ingredients are extremely acidic and abrasive and can have a devastating effect on your tooth enamel.
Unfortunately, tooth enamel doesn’t “grow back” so you want to be very careful to protect it. You’re much better off with a whitening kit from a well-known brand or even better, an in-office treatment that’s administered by a dental professional.
Are they harmful? Whitening treatments you formulate on your own using household items may end up being pretty unsafe. Stick with something put together by a trusted brand if you want to do a whitening treatment at home.
Activated charcoal is everywhere these days! If you stroll down the oral care aisle, you’ll see everything from charcoal-infused toothbrushes to toothpastes, floss, and mouthwash. I think we can all agree that it looks super cool, but does it really do anything? And is it harmful to ingest activated charcoal?
First of all, using charcoal to whiten teeth isn’t really a new concept. In fact, it’s been said that Hippocrates (aka “The Father of Medicine”) recommended it for this purpose. It is true that charcoal oral care products *can* brighten your smile slightly, but we don’t think it’s the best whitening option out there.
Are they harmful? The safety and toxicity of charcoal-based oral care products hasn’t been properly tested. The harm is probably very minimal, but you’re better off with a professional whitening treatment from your dentist.
I mean, the phrase “DIY braces” should give you pause, even if you’re not a dental professional. Braces (and all orthodontic treatments) are very serious and precise, so the idea of anyone attempting to straighten their teeth at home is a little bit terrifying. DIY braces are essentially homemade braces made out of things like rubber bands, paper clips, fishing wire, etc.
Properly correcting alignment issues is a science. When you put the wrong amount of pressure on teeth, for the wrong period of time, at the wrong time in the patient’s oral development, you risk very serious damage, not just to the teeth, but to the entire jaw.
Are they harmful? Yes, extremely. Functional orthodontic treatments, like braces, should be left to the professionals to avoid irreversible damage and even permanent tooth loss.
Filing Down Teeth
If you thought DIY braces were bad, hold onto your seats. There’s a recent trend on TikTok that involves people (mostly teens) filing down their teeth at home using nail files. This absolutely sends shivers down our spines! Usually, their goal is to file the bottoms of the front teeth down so they’re perfectly straight.
As you know, your teeth are covered in delicate enamel, which helps to keep your teeth strong and protects the sensitive inner layers. Once that enamel is destroyed, it cannot grow back or heal. Filing down your teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity, fracture, infection, and it can impact the way your teeth fit together when you bite down.
Is this harmful? Extremely. Never file down your teeth, for any reason. If you have an issue with the shape of your tooth or you chip a tooth and need it filed down, please give us a call.
In 2020, tooth gems were alllll over social media. You might have seen them: they just look like tiny little rhinestone jewels or shapes (like hearts or stars) that are attached to the front surface of the tooth. These gems are applied to the surface of the tooth with an adhesive, so the tooth itself isn’t being damaged per se, but that doesn’t mean there’s zero risk to these.
Over time, you might notice discoloration underneath where the gem has been placed. They also may wear away the enamel, which increases your risk for tooth decay and infection. And, because they can be difficult to clean once they’re attached to the tooth, stray food particles and harmful bacteria can get stuck underneath.
Are they harmful? They can be, since you’re applying an adhesive directly to your tooth enamel. If you want your smile to shine, you’re better off with professional teeth whitening or veneers!
At Inspire Dental Wellness, we have an open door policy and we practice judgement-free dentistry. If you have questions about a dental trend, we are more than happy to talk through it with you and outline the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. If you’ve had a bad experience, please know that you can come to us and we will fix you up, no questions asked. We are here for you!