Ask the Dentist: Make sure your kids aren't fooled by online DIY 'dentistry'
Online crazes involving teeth are certainly crazy and also dangerous, writes Lucy Stock, dentist at Gentle Dental Care in Belfast
DO YOU know where your nail files, toilet bleach and power drill are at the moment? Well maybe you should make sure that these items are where you believe them to be and not in the hands of your children.
Videos on TikTok have young people promoting home remedies to improve the appearance of practically all body parts and the teeth are not escaping this Alice in Wonderland sorcery.
One of the suggestions being punted on the short videos is taking a nail file to smooth down the front teeth to “even them out” or level a jaggedy edge. Do not pass go or collect £200 – this should go straight into the big bag of bad ideas. Irreversible damage is being caused by this moment of fadness.
Maybe check with your children that they are aware that this can cause long-term sensitivity and try to explain that teeth are meant to be a certain shape so that they function properly. When teeth are their intended shape, they fit together and slide around in harmony, which protects other teeth from breaking and stops the jaw joints from hurting.
However, the nail-filing concept is a mere amoeba in the bad ideas bag in comparison with the corn on the cob challenge. This involves putting a corn on the cob on the drill bit of a power tool. While the cob is rotating full tilt, the person has to eat all the corn off at nauseating speed. Jason Derulo, the American singer, posted a prank video where his front two teeth “snapped off” during the challenge. While funny, it does highlight the inherent craziness of the challenge and other TikTokers have actually had their front teeth totally knocked out or been scalped completing it.
Eye of newt, toe of bat and anything else in the kitchen cupboard is mixed enthusiastically in varying quantities by the TikTokers and then wrapped with misplaced optimism in tinfoil around the teeth in the quest for whiter teeth which predictably doesn't materialise.
What can actually happen when using household bleach or other non-dental products as a tooth whitener is severe burns to your gums, palate and oesophagus, leaving permanent scarring and damage – nothing to smile about.