This week, TikTok narrowly avoided a ban in the US, thanks to a deal where Walmart and Oracle would invest in the company and help administer its domestic data to help “Americanize” it. However, in some ways, it might have been better to be banned.
In particular, TikTok has become the new spreading ground for dangerous dental trends. We would like to think that many of these aren’t things that people would ever do, but enough people are making videos about them that it seems we have to take a moment to caution people against following these trends.
The Teeth Filing Trend
In one video, which has been liked over 50,000 times and emulated by several other creators on the service, a young woman grinds her teeth down with a nail file.
She was unhappy with the unevenness of her teeth, including several small protrusions on the cutting edge of her front teeth (incisors). Then she starts scraping with a nail file. The video, although TikTok short, is broken into several cuts. In one, she crows about the technique “literally working,” then says she’s going to give herself “vampire fangs.” She then shows the result, which, she says, is “not perfect, but it is significantly better.”
First, it’s important with these videos to note that they’re often staged. Outrageous videos get more attention. We don’t really know how much this young woman did to her teeth. She only briefly touched the file to her teeth on camera, and subsequent shots were from different angles, which could easily conceal the minor features she supposedly wanted to change.
Don’t File Your Teeth Down
Don’t do what this young woman claimed she did. It’s never a good idea to remove enamel unnecessarily. Our teeth only have a small amount of enamel, and it’s irreplaceable.
Thin enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity and can make your teeth more vulnerable. If a loss of enamel exposes your dentin–the middle layer of the tooth–decay will progress more quickly. The irregular texture created by sanding can also accumulate plaque.
You also don’t want to remove enamel, because it’s the attractive part of the tooth. Dentin is dingier, often a brown or yellowish color.
If you truly want to reshape your teeth, we can help you safely achieve the look you want with veneers or other approaches.
Don’t Use Undiluted Peroxide as Mouthwash
Another trend that has been promoted on TikTok is getting food grade hydrogen peroxide and using it as a mouthwash to whiten teeth.
While it’s true that hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in most teeth whitening solutions, there is a good reason not to use it as a mouthwash. While peroxide is safe for teeth, it can be damaging to your soft tissues like your gums and tongue. Using peroxide of this strength can lead to receding gums and painful sores on your tongue and cheeks. That’s why when we do teeth whitening, we apply peroxide directly to your teeth, either by painting it on or by using whitening trays.
Consult a Dentist Before You Try It
If you’re considering trying a home remedy for teeth whitening, tooth reshaping, or oral health, consult a dentist first. While the internet is the most common source of these damaging techniques, even some tips you read in a book or magazine can be destructive.