Smartphones have changed the way we communicate, work and live. And they’ve also had surprising effects on oral health. Keep the following dental dangers in mind as you use your smartphone.
Shortly after smartphones were introduced, emergency room visits spiked due to cellphone-related facial cuts, bruises, abrasions and fractures. This includes dental emergencies, such as chipped, loosened or lost teeth.
People have been injured by:
Dropping their phones on their faces while lying on their backs watching videos, taking selfies and playing games.
Being hit by a thrown phone.
Getting distracted, causing an accident while walking or driving.
Dangerous social media smile trends
Watching videos on social media can be highly entertaining and sometimes even informative. However, some posts demonstrate homemade hacks that can damage your oral health, including:
Filing teeth: Using a nail file on teeth can remove enamel, stain teeth and make them more sensitive.
Homemade braces: Some people claim to have straightened teeth with rubber bands. It’s far more likely they simply caused unnecessary pain and even tooth loss.
Pulling an adult tooth: Without the proper sterile instruments, pulling a permanent tooth can damage oral tissues, leave behind tooth fragments and cause infection.
Scraping tartar at home: Tools often marketed as “plaque scrapers” are designed to mimic the professional cleaning instruments used at a dentist’s office. If used without proper training, you can easily damage your gums and teeth.
Flossing with hair: You may have seen this trick on TikTok. What these videos don’t tell you is how unsanitary and ineffective flossing with anything other than floss or a flossing tool can be.
Instead of trying a dangerous DIY stunt, talk to your dentist about any dental changes you want to make. Daily brushing and flossing can help keep your smile in good shape. It’s also important to visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings, so any tartar buildup can be professionally removed.
Is your smartphone always on and within reach? Do you frequently pick it up to respond to alerts? Constant engagement can cause stress all day long, increase anxiety and disrupt sleep. With regular alerts from your phone, even activities that should be relaxing, such as taking a walk, eating dinner or going to sleep, can be stressful. And that stress can cause or heighten many chronic diseases, including oral diseases.
Try these tips to reduce stress caused by your smartphone:
Designate a time to send responses, check emails and visit websites rather than being interrupted throughout the day. You don’t have to respond immediately to every message or notification.
Turn off notifications except the ones you definitely need to receive.
Put your phone on silent when you can.
Delete or hide any apps that cause you stress.
Take a break from your phone at least an hour before you go to bed.
The average American is on their smartphone 4 hours a day and keeps it within reach at most times.1