THE TOOTH HURTS
These days, it’s hard to go through a single day without finding a new viral TikTok hack or trend. But some of these hacks might not be giving such great advice, especially when it comes to taking care of your teeth.
One popular hack involves bleaching your teeth with store-bought hydrogen peroxide. While this chemical is typically found in tooth-whitening products, it tends to come in much smaller doses. Using more concentrated amounts can actually damage your teeth and gums, and should only be done under the careful watch of a licensed dentist.
You might also have seen videos of users sanding down their teeth with nail files in order to make their teeth more even. Likewise, this is something you really shouldn’t be doing at home. During a proper enameloplasty, only the enamel of your teeth is removed, which keeps the procedure as safe for you as possible.
If you try to file down your teeth on your own, you might remove too much coating from your teeth. This can leave them oversensitive and have a negative effect on your dental health in the long run.
The end is (ve)neer
Another potentially dangerous trend that’s been going around is the “veneers check”, where TikTok users proudly show off their shaved-down teeth — they look like tiny pegs, and the users often claim to be ready for their new veneers. The videos end with them flashing perfect smiles, having undergone their dental procedures.
Here’s the truth: what they are getting aren’t veneers, but crowns.
When you get dental veneers, only a little bit of your tooth is shaved off to make room for the thin covering that goes on the front of your tooth. On the other hand, crowns do require the shaving down shown in those TikTok videos. However, crowning is typically only done when a tooth is already decaying or broken, not when they’re still perfectly healthy.
This spreading of misinformation can really be quite damaging, so it’s always important to fact-check any viral hacks you come across.
5 Singaporean stories to catch up on
1️⃣ Stressed out teeth: Since the pandemic began, dentists in Singapore have seen a rise in cases of damaged teeth due to grinding.
2️⃣ Don’t forget to brush! The rise in cosmetic dental work might be due to the relationship between job prospects and dental health.
3️⃣ Chew on this: Many common foods, like rice and sweets, can cause broken teeth.
4️⃣ Daily routine: Influencer Charlotte Wang has shared how small things like brushing her teeth have helped her get through bad days.
5️⃣ Masks up! Experts tell all about “mask breath“.
And 5 facts to spice up your life:
1️⃣ Call the Paparazzi: A Brazilian dentist has recently gone viral for her uncanny resemblance to Lady Gaga.
2️⃣ Teeth too? COVID-19 might be causing dental health issues in patients and survivors
3️⃣ Need a lesson on tooth-brushing? Sharp’s RoBoHon can save the day with GUM Play.
4️⃣ Not just morning breath: A recent survey shows that some people in the UK have stopped brushing their teeth since they started working from home.
5️⃣ Rodent-al Tales: In France, children believe in la petite souris (the little mouse) rather than the tooth fairy.
Stronger than bone, lots of teeth can always be found at archaeological sites — which is great news for us, since ancient teeth can tell us some fascinating things about humans of the past.
A recent study has found that some women of the El Agar culture used their teeth as tools for producing textiles. These women lived in southern Spain during the Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago. Grooves and notches were found on their teeth, caused by their working with various materials to create threads and cords — that’s some really extreme flossing going on there.
The degree of wear and tear on the teeth of different individuals also showed that this was a lifelong duty for this group of women. Older women tended to have more pronounced grooves and notches on their teeth than younger ones.
The study also highlights the distribution of work based on gender in the El Agar culture since the teeth of men found at the site showed none of this wear and tear. (Men working with fabric? Unthinkable!)
Plaque or plague?
Ancient teeth can also be a treasure trove of information when it comes to understanding the history of diseases. For example, cases of “trench fever” (better known from the unsanitary battlegrounds of World War I and II) have recently been found in Ancient Rome.
Looking at ancient teeth has also helped us differentiate the Plague of Justinian from the Black Plague even though they come from the same kind of bacteria.
Researchers know these things because the bacterial DNA of past diseases can still be found on the teeth uncovered at archaeological sites.
By putting this information together with other types of historical data, they can find new insights into the history of epidemics.
You might think all of this is just ancient history, but a lot of this information is helping us deal with disease today as well. People today still get the plague, but studying past outbreaks and other conditions can actually help predict when the next big outbreak will be and how to prevent it.
The same applies to other epidemics, since studying their history helps us understand how they work in general, and can affect how we deal with them when it becomes necessary to do so — which means right now for pretty much all of us.
Weird & Wonderful
- Brushing your teeth is the only time you clean your skeleton.
- Octopi, squid, and birds would all visit the same type of dentist.
- A bear with no teeth is a gummy bear.
- If teeth grew the way fingernails do, we’d have to get them trimmed.
- Escalators and electric toothbrushes still work even when they stop working
How smart should toothbrushes be?
Of course, you’ve heard of electric toothbrushes, but have you heard of smart toothbrushes?
They’ve been on the market for quite awhile, and many of the most popular dental hygiene brands have at least one model available. They typically work with an accompanying app, and they take the electronic toothbrush to the next level by telling you exactly which parts of your mouth are clean and which parts require more brushing.
These smart toothbrushes can also give you tips for better dental hygiene, and remind you when it’s time to brush and floss. They can even tell you when you’re brushing too hard, which can cause bleeding and damage your gums. Some smart toothbrushes designed for kids also turn tooth-brushing into a game, helping children develop good dental hygiene habits.
Given all of that, the big question is whether or not you really need a smart toothbrush. While it definitely makes brushing your teeth more fun, it’s also more costly! So while it’s a cool idea, there’s ultimately no pressure for you to get one — unless, of course, you’re rolling in dough and have enough to fork out a few hundred dollars just for a toothbrush.
Been awhile since your last dental appointment? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Seeing a Dentist in Singapore!