4 Trendy TikTok Dental Tips That Are Actually Pretty Dangerous
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Let’s face it: it’s a lot easier (and more fun) to get oral health advice from social media rather than from your dentist. A visit to the dentist can seem boring, expensive and potentially painful; Combine that with increasing information on platforms like TikTok and you have a quick fix.
“TikTok is not my first place to go for health information,” said Dee Dee Meevasin, dentist in Las Vegas. Certain suggestions can lead to costly repairs and painful dental procedures, and in some cases, can cause irreparable damage.
Not all dentists are against using social media for medical information, but Casey lau, dentist in Northridge, California and chief dentist in Elims, says to check with your own dentist before trying any trend you see. “Anything that can bring more dental awareness is a pretty cool thing, so I’m not really against [TikTok] in and of itself, because that creates talking points for us, so I kind of totally agree. “
Famous TikTok dentists can be effective communicators for young audiences in particular. Take Benjamin Winters, a Texas-based orthodontist known on the app as “the Bentiste”. Winters has 11 million subscribers and uses funny videos to educate viewers about their oral health.
That said, there are some popular TikTok dental trends that most experts recommend ignoring no matter how legitimate they seem. Here’s what to watch out for:
Use a magic eraser on coffee stains …
You can’t deny that a magic eraser is, well, magic. It makes tons of marks and stains around your house. Can it do the same for your teeth, as a TikTok trend suggests? Absolutely not.
Winters reacted with outrage at people using the cleaning device to remove stains from their pearly whites in a YouTube video with over 2,300,000 views. Lau felt the same.
“He’s the one that scares me,” Lau said of the trend. The TikTok user who started the trend didn’t want to use fluoride – a product made for your teeth – “but wanted to take something that’s supposed to take pencils off your walls and disinfect things that probably need it.” scratching level, “he said.
Lau warned that magic erasers are made of melamine, which is “a very hard and abrasive material… it’s not really whitening, it actually brings the natural whiteness of the layers underneath. [by] scraping the top layer of your tooth as well.
Meevasin added that people need to understand the seriousness of using the cleaning product on their teeth. “They don’t mend, they don’t grow back,” she said. “You’re going to be really sensitive … you’ll have it to get it fixed with a filling or a crown.”
… Or using charcoal toothpaste for the same reason
Meevasin is also concerned about the charcoal toothpaste trend, which uses the same “whitening” process as the Magic Eraser, noting that the product can be abrasive and “unsafe”. “I wish they had never released it,” she said.
Brian luong, a dentist in Anaheim Hills, Calif., said he “grits his teeth” at TikTok’s dental trends. “Repairing your teeth and mouth after some of these DIY experiences is time consuming, painful, and expensive. So unless the TikTok account you’re looking at has a DDS in the name, don’t ask them for dental advice, ”he said.
Drink pineapple juice before having your wisdom teeth removed
TikTok users strive to avoid that swollen appearance of chipmunk cheeks after wisdom tooth surgery and claim that consuming pineapple juice in the hours before surgery will prevent this. User Valeriagreenz, who has nearly 70,000 subscribers, posted a TIC Tac of her drinking 64 ounces of pineapple juice before her operation, not revealing any swelling the next day.
“Pineapple juice contains small amounts of bromelain which has mild anti-inflammatory benefits, ”said Joseph Field, dentist in Los Altos, Calif. However, he noted, the amount you would need to drink to get results “would have significant negative health consequences.” Instead, he recommends ibuprofen and ice.
Another concern is that most surgeries require general anesthesia, which means patients aren’t supposed to eat or drink for six to eight hours before surgery, Meevasin explained.
“It’s a huge risk. What happens is that when you are under anesthesia your reflexes are also asleep, so your gag reflex will not work anymore, ”Meevasin said. “If any fluid comes up, you will suffocate and it can get into your lungs. It may be very harmful.
She said consuming food or fluids ahead of time is only okay for local anesthesia surgeries, and in this case, might even help you get to surgery well hydrated. But you should speak with your doctors first before doing anything.
Using glue-based products on your teeth
A TikTok user recently shared how he tried to apply vampire fangs with super glue, and the results weren’t pretty. Of all the TikTok trends, the experts we spoke to knew best about patients who stick something to their teeth with adhesives you might find at a hardware store.
Meevasin said she has seen patients use super glue, which she describes as “toxic,” to reattach objects that have fallen out of their mouths, such as chipped teeth or crowns.
“It’s stuck to your teeth, so we would probably have to shave it off, and you could get a bit of the first layer of the tooth with it,” she explained.
There is no safe glue for your teeth. If something comes off your teeth, like a crown, for example, you can use an over-the-counter temporary adhesive kit to help you until you can get to the dentist.
Why do people follow these fads in the first place
While some of these trends seem crazy, the reason behind many of them isn’t: there is a real fear – both in the cost and in the pain – of formal dentist procedures. Research suggests that about 36% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety, with 12% having extreme dental fear.
“When you’re too broke to pay a dentist, you have to use ‘alternative’ methods,” wrote a commentator on Winters’ reaction video to the Magic Eraser trend. This is a valid point. Field hopes people only consider the risk, which “could have serious and irreversible consequences.”
When in doubt, look for resources supported by credible organizations like the American Dental Association. You can also call your local dentist. While social media trends may seem like a remarkable solution, they could have even more costly and painful results.
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