Don’t try this at home: experts warn against TikTok teeth-whitening hack

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A video of a woman bleaching her teeth has gone viral but dentists are warning that the DIY technique could cause burns and major damage to teeth and gums. (Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
A video of a woman bleaching her teeth has gone viral but dentists are warning that the DIY technique could cause burns and major damage to teeth and gums. (Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

A video of a woman bleaching her teeth has gone viral but dentists are warning that the DIY technique could cause burns and major damage to teeth and gums.

In the clip, British TikTokker @clauds244 dips a cottonwool bud into 3% hydrogen peroxide and reveals that she swabs it directly onto her teeth for 30-60 seconds. She claims that since this is the same active ingredient in store-bought whitening strips, her hack is totally safe.

“If you’re a dentist, don’t tell me this is wrong. Save me the grief, the damage has already been done,” she says.

However, experts have warned people against it.

Although whitening agents are used in over-the-counter products, Health.com reports that 3% hydrogen peroxide is over the legal percentage of 0.1% that’s allowed to be used by non-dental professionals in the UK, where @clauds244 is from.

“Using higher concentrations unsupervised, as some videos advocate, raises the risk of damage to teeth and gums, including burns to the mouth, tooth and gum sensitivity, as well as irritated or inflamed gums,” a spokesperson from the British Dental Association warns.

Amongst other things, hydrogen peroxide is also found in household cleaners and hair dye.

According to Dr Reena Wadia, founder of a London gum clinic, “Professional teeth whitening systems use a custom-made tray that holds the hydrogen peroxide gel in contact with the teeth and prevents it from contacting the gum tissue.”

“Gums and bone hold your teeth in place so there’s no point having white teeth if they start loosening up, changing position and eventually fall out,” she explains.

The video has garnered more than 19 million views and over 14 000 comments from users weighing in with mixed reviews – while some are keen to try it out, others think it’s crazy:

@finntonnar: Here’s me thinking how bad it could be, but also ordering some.

@youwhatmate: Mix it with diesel, works well.

OTHER DANGEROUS TIKTOK ‘HACKS’

Applying eyelash glue above the lip and then pressing the top lip up, to give the appearance of a fuller and plumper pout. Professionals have advised that continued use of the glue could result in severe allergic reactions and disfigurement.

DIY dimples, anyone? This hack sees users poke the back of a pen vigorously into their cheek muscle, long enough to create the illusion of a tiny hole or dimple.

Another alarming trend sees users simply file down ridges and bumps on their teeth to make it straighter and smoother – similar to nails being scraped on a blackboard, right? The filing motion also removes enamel from the tooth.

Nose pegs have also been popular, with users trying the option out for a more ‘streamlined’ nose without having to go for rhinoplasty. Prolonged use of these devices have been said to interfere with the natural development of the nose and could lead to deformities and permanent bruising.


SOURCES: BBC.COM; TIKTOK.COM; DAILYMAIL.CO.UK; BUSINESSINSIDER.CO.ZA

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