Uhh, you probably shouldn’t listen to these TikTok health ‘hacks’
Experts say that despite what the FYP would have you believe, it’s not a good idea to put peroxide on your teeth or scrape off your own moles.
Look, we have nothing against a TikTok hack. Over lockdown and the long — though time kind of means nothing now — boring summer that followed, the app’s FYP has introduced us to many a time-wasting activity. People have turned to TikTok to renovate their bedrooms on a budget, bleach their hair or completely overhaul their wardrobes. It’s undeniably been a valuable resource. But recent health “hacks” circulating on the platform sit on the more sinister side of advice, and should probably, doctors and skin experts say, not be repeated.
One recent viral video extolled the virtues of — rather than paying for teeth whitening strips online or shelling out for a professional whitening at the dentist — just putting straight hydrogen peroxide on your teeth to bleach them. While this hack has been circulating on the internet for a good few years now, it’s been brought back to life, like many things in 2020, by TikTok. It’s also, dentists say, probably not the best idea to adopt for your next DIY project.
In a statement on the BBC today, the British Dental Association said that the trend could cause “permanent damage” (under UK law, oral hygiene whitening products can only be sold to consumers if they contain less than 0.1% pure hydrogen peroxide). "The BDA is concerned about the DIY trend to whiten teeth with levels of hydrogen peroxide that are higher than that permitted in over-the-counter products," a representative said. "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."
Dermatologists also chimed in with concerns over another TikTok trend, which sees people scraping off their own moles (I know, madness!) rather than seeing a specialist. "There is no 'safe' way to remove a mole at home," Dr Ross Perry told the BBC. "This needs to be done by a qualified doctor or dermatologist who is trained and knows what they are doing. Using chemicals or attempting to 'scrape' off a mole could lead to infections, bleeding, scarring and deformity of the area." They added that social media is probably not the best place to turn for dermatology advice.