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Dentists frown at influencer-endorsed teeth fixing products

Lucia Brienza

Invisalign invisible teeth braces were used in Zhengzhou, Henan. /CFP
Invisalign invisible teeth braces were used in Zhengzhou, Henan. /CFP

Invisalign invisible teeth braces were used in Zhengzhou, Henan. /CFP

Online beauty influencers have been promoting an easy route to perfectly white and aligned teeth for very little money, time and effort. While these products have been heavily advocated across Instagram and TikTok by influencers, dentists have warned they can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Companies have been pushing these inexpensive at-home products that many consumers have now fallen short on.

The U.S. based firm SmileDirectClub advertised for its 'clear aligners' which work as plastic braces worn daily to straighten teeth. After announcing its "Lifetime Smile Guarantee" simply "no longer exists," in December the company filed for bankruptcy.


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32-year-old Chantelle Jones paid SmileDirectClub $2,300 and only had her top teeth straightened after never having received the bottom molds. She told the BBC in December "I'm not sure if I'm going to get my money back" and like many other customers has been advised to seek professional dental help.

Dental surgeon, David Couchat of the French Federation of Orthodontics, explained that these products  are not solely for aesthetic purposes. He said "Aligning a few incisors can happen quickly but there is a lot of work to be done afterwards about how someone will use their jaws to chew."

Teeth Bleaching Treatment /CFP
Teeth Bleaching Treatment /CFP

Teeth Bleaching Treatment /CFP

The bright side of teeth whitening may not shine as expected

The internet has seen a growth in online tests that can allegedly determine the correct amount of peroxide appropriate to whiten your teeth. However these products fail to detect bone loss, tooth loosening or gum disease and even cause serious long term damage as said by Christophe Lequart, dental surgeon and spokesman for the French Union for Oral Health. Teeth whitening strips, pens, gels, lamps and toothpastes have also been enthusiastically promoted by beauty and wellness influencers with some of them costing as little as $20. 

In the United Kingdom and European Union the active whitening ingredient, present in many of these advertised products, is heavily regulated. 

The concentration of hydrogen peroxide cannot exceed 0.1 percent in over-the-counter products but that did not stop French influencer Poupette Kenza from pushing Crest 3D Whitestrips, which contain up to 10% hydrogen peroxide. Kenza faced a fine of $55,000 from the French authorities for promoting the banned product.

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Close-up of man smiling /CFP
Close-up of man smiling /CFP

Close-up of man smiling /CFP

The use of hydrogen peroxide in large quantities can be harmful especially if applied to cavities or diseased gums. Prior to whitening, dentists perform a thorough cleaning to eliminate surface discoloration, a step omitted by online-purchased at-home products. 

According to dental surgeon Lequart, the regular use of such products can lead to irritation or even cause gums to recede, serving as an early indication of potential tooth loss. One online customer said the Crest whitening strips "lighten teeth several shades, of course, but give a horrible sensation during hot or cold meals”

Lequart highlighted that on social media platforms, the primary audience is typically young and cost-conscious. He expressed concern that this focus on cost-saving measures could potentially result in a "disaster in terms of oral health." He also warned that before-and-after whitening images circulating on social media are often enhanced using Photoshop. 

Couchat pointed out that influencers endorsing these products frequently have pricey porcelain veneers concealing their natural teeth. He added, "They are taking advantage of people's credulity. It's a big scam."

These veneers are majorly popular among Hollywood stars, serving as a common source of inspiration for those aspiring to achieve a brighter smile.

Dentists frown at influencer-endorsed teeth fixing products

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Source(s): AFP
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