30 Nov

Dentist raises concerns over latest TikTok DIY toothpaste trend

A dentist has raised concerns over the latest TikTok trend, which encourages people to make their own fluoride-free toothpaste at home.

Dr Cathryn Madden, head dentist at Bupa Dental Care, warned TikTok users not to embrace DIY techniques and recipes seen in the latest viral videos, which feature ingredients that can be harmful to dental health.

The latest trend sees TikTok users making ‘natural’ toothpastes at home as an alternative to shop-bought products, which contain fluoride. Hundreds of videos have been viewed and shared on the popular social platform in recent weeks, raising alarm among dental professionals.

Dr Madden suggested that many of the ingredients used by TikTok users to make their own toothpaste products are dangerous, including lemon juice, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and hydrogen peroxide. Lemon juice and vinegar are acidic, which erodes the tooth enamel and hydrogen peroxide can cause chemical burns and damage the soft tissue in the mouth if used incorrectly. Bicarbonate of soda is abrasive, which can weaken the enamel. 

Protecting the enamel is crucial, Dr Madden explained, as once it is worn or damaged, it cannot be replaced or repaired. Worn, thin enamel increases the risk of tooth decay, sensitivity and discolouration. 

The rise of natural toothpastes has been partly driven by theories that fluoride toothpaste is dangerous. Dr Madden said that the videos may be misleading because there are “decades worth of good scientific evidence showing that fluoride is safe and is effective in the prevention of tooth decay.” Fluoride is added to many toothpaste products to protect the teeth by strengthening the enamel.

Dr Madden urged people who use TikTok and other social media platforms to consult their dentists before trying new viral trends and suggested that it could be dangerous to take advice off influencers or celebrities, rather than dental professionals.

This is the latest in a long line of trends that have prompted dentists to speak out against TikTok users spreading unhelpful or potentially harmful information. Other trends include DIY tooth shaping and whitening.