Grills (or grillz) – decorative tooth covers that snap over real teeth – are not just for rappers anymore. The dental décor has been spotted on everyone from Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte to socialite Kim Kardashian.
Whether gold-plated or diamond-studded, grills may not be the healthiest choice for teeth. Food particles and other debris can easily get caught between teeth and the appliance, promoting plaque buildup, halitosis and tooth decay.
Wearing a grill for too long may lead to enamel discoloration and could also scratch the surrounding teeth. Additionally, less expensive grills may be made from metals or other materials that could irritate the gums or even cause an allergic reaction.
If your teenager is thinking about getting one of these funky mouthpieces (or you’re considering one for yourself), here’s what you need to know:
- Talk with a dentist before wearing a grill.
- Remove the appliance before eating.
- Clean it daily, but not with jewelry cleaners. Harsh chemicals may irritate the mouth and could be dangerous if accidentally ingested.
- Limit the amount of time spent wearing the grill.
The bottom line: Getting a grill – or any other mouth jewelry – is not the best choice for good oral health. If you get one, however, following your dentist’s advice on how to wear it and clean it is key.