TORONTO -- TikTok users are filming themselves reshaping their teeth with nail files, a trend that has dentists warning against the “irreparable damage” it can cause.

While the app is known as a place to share DIY tips on fashion and dance videos, this latest trend is not one that orthodontist Dr. J. Eric Selnes recommends as he warns it can have serious long-term repercussions.

“Simply put, I like to think of enamel as a non-renewable source. So, once the enamel is gone, you don’t get it back,” Selnes, the president of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists, told in a phone interview on Friday.

Enamel acts as a layer of protection for the softer inner layer on the teeth. If that layer is removed or thinned, it can lead to sensitivity and cavities, according to Selnes.

It’s unclear how the trend began, but users have continued to post about their own experiences with shaving down their teeth.


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Selnes said teeth are designed to fit together like zipper. Manipulating the shape of one’s teeth can have a negative effect on the way a person’s bite functions.

“Depending on how your bite fits, if you change that bite by changing the way the teeth come together by removing some of the enamel, the teeth will continue to move until they touch again so you’ll have to be constantly doing this,” he said.

Suhail Mohiuddin, a dentist who uses Tiktok, explained that there can be different reasons as to why teeth have uneven ridges. While using a nail file can provide a quick fix, it won’t necessarily fix the original issue that made them uneven to begin with.

In a video, Mohiuddin, also known as @dr.m_, shows the process of professionally reshaping teeth without causing any damage.

This isn’t the first time TikTok users participated in a questionable dental trend. Last month, a “teeth whitening” trend became popular after users said hydrogen peroxide, a disinfectant often used for skin wounds, can be used to make teeth whiter.

While dental treatment is often expensive and can be a long process, Selnes said anyone concerned with their smile should seek professional guidance rather than take matters into their own hands.

“There’s going to be an inherent cost to having orthodontic treatment performed and a lot of our society these days are interested in quick fixes, instant gratification and orthodontics are neither of those things and it’s not without a cost,” he said.