DIY beauty hacks are common on TikTok, and while most are pretty harmless, a new trend of filing your teeth with a nail file has dentists concerned.
One of the latest beauty tricks users are sharing sees people filing their teeth down with a nail file to help them appear more even.
Unsurprisingly, however, dentists have something to say about using something meant for your nails to file teeth.
“The TikTok trend of using nail files to file teeth is very dangerous and concerning,” Dr Richard Marques of Doctor Richard London tells Yahoo UK.
“It can lead to loss of protective enamel that coats the surface of the teeth, and eventually lead to exposure of the nerve, which can be incredibly painful and could even end up requiring root canals and crowns.”
While using a nail file to correct uneven teeth may feel like a quick fix, Dr Marques warns that it can actually cause permanent damage.
“Once the enamel is gone, there is no way to get it back.”
Professor Damien Walmsley, British Dental Association’s (BDA) scientific adviser echoed the warnings that filing your teeth with a nail file can permanently damage the structure of your teeth, and possibly make it more prone to tooth decay.
“With enamel, once you break through the nice smooth parts, you’re opening it up to all sorts of damage and you’re on a slippery slope to problems you could see for the rest of your life,” he tells Yahoo UK.
He goes on to explain that enamel is a little like a crystal structure, naturally smooth on the outside, but if you start breaking through, bacteria will have a much better way of getting into the tooth, causing decay.
Professor Walmsley goes on to add that teeth are brittle, so if you file them and the crystal gets unsupported they could start fracturing more.
“It is potentially opening them up to problems in years to come when they may need the teeth to be repaired.”
In response to videos of users trying out the trend on TikTok, dental professionals have issued their own warnings via the social media site.
Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin, known as @dr.m_, reacted to a video of someone filing down their teeth with a nail file and urged his viewers to consider why their teeth are uneven in the first place.
“Ok, you file them, and they look pretty but you didn’t solve the original problem, so what are you going to do in a few years when they're uneven again and your teeth are shorter?” Mohiuddin said.
So what can those looking to even up their teeth do about it?
“I would advise anyone looking to smooth or alter the appearance of their teeth to visit their dentist who can advise on aesthetic procedures such as bonding, contouring, veneers or teeth straightening,” Dr Marques adds.
That’s advice echoed by Professor Walmsley. “If your teeth are uneven and you’re unhappy about it, then you need to go and visit a dentist who will be able to advise on the best way to proceed,” he says.
“Yes, it'll cost you a little bit of money but at least you're in safe hands.”