Don't take this DIY dental advice seen on TikTok, dentist says

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Friday, September 18, 2020
Don't take this DIY dental advice seen on TikTok, dentist says
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"There are definite risks out there with do-it-yourself procedures," said Dr. Justin Russo. "They can have some very real consequences."

For years, teeth whitening was the exclusive domain of dentists.

But then came over-the-counter whitening kits.

Now some dentists think the home remedies have gone too far.

"The main ingredient in whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide," a young woman said in a TikTok video that has garnered millions of views.

She then uses a swab dipped in a bottle labeled "3 percent hydrogen peroxide" to apply the liquid directly to her teeth.

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It's one of many posts that got the attention of dentists -- including Dr. Justin Russo of Russo Dentistry in Raleigh.

"There are definite risks out there with do-it-yourself procedures," he said. "They can have some very real consequences."

Russo says he's seen do-it-yourself ideas and projects flourish during the pandemic, when many of us are stuck at home looking for things to do.

But while home improvement projects are harmless, Russo said DIY medical projects may not be.

"Now if you're a dentist don't tell me this wrong. Save me the grief. The damage has already been done, okay?" the woman in the TIk Tok video said.

"She's more than welcome to do whatever she wants to do to herself," Russo said in response. "I'm just simply saying as a blanket statement, in general do-it-yourself dental treatments, putting mixed chemicals on your teeth, is not a good idea."

In the case of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide applied to teeth by an untrained amateur, Russo says it can be dangerous.

"The biggest risk is taking off the enamel of your teeth. Your teeth can be permanently more sensitive, permanently more prone to decay, permanently more apt to wear."

Russo says while that dental hack and others on different platforms are more common in the era of social media and the pandemic, he's seen plenty of other DIY dental procedures gone bad.

"I've seen people try to glue things in their mouth, file things down, you know repair things many different ways. And largely in my experience, and I say anecdotally, I would say 99 out of 100 do regret what they do."

Russo says try over-the-counter dental products and if they don't work well enough for you, talk to your dentist before trying an online do-it-yourself technique.