Bupa cautions against do-it-yourself dentistry

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Bupa is cautioning Australians of all ages against trying their hand at do-it-yourself dentistry procedures as seen on some social media platforms.

Instructional videos such as straightening teeth with rubber bands, filing teeth with a nail file to even them out and applying hydrogen peroxide directly to teeth as a whitening technique, have been posted to social media platforms and viewed by millions of users.

Bupa Dental head dentist Dr Cathryn Madden said many of these social media 'hacks' can cause irreversible or costly damage to your teeth.

“While we strongly encourage our patients to maintain a strong oral health routine at home, this should be limited to the basics like brushing, flossing or other activities recommended by your dentist or medical professional.

“Your teeth and gums can be quite delicate and unwanted damage can affect your ability to eat and speak while also impacting your overall health through the risk of infections, headaches. In the event of DIY whitening, swallowing hydrogen peroxide can also make you quite ill,” said Dr Madden.

Recent research from the Australian Dental Association has found that only one-in-three adults whiten their teeth under the supervision of a dental professional, many of which later report pain or sensitivity.

“Before you try a new product or oral health technique recommended by a friend or social media, it’s always a good idea to consult your friendly local dentist. They will be able to advise if the product or process is safe and walk you through any safer alternatives.

“Dentists study for many years to ensure your teeth and gums stay in the best possible condition in a safe and clean environment. So, don’t take shortcuts, just make an appointment, ask any questions you might have and open wide… we are here to look after your beautiful smile!” added Dr Madden