If you’ve ever seen someone with gold, bejeweled or otherwise shiny teeth, then you know what a mouth grill is. First made popular by rappers and hip hop artists, mouth grills are a type of mouth jewelry that is becoming trendy across the pop culture landscape. Nowadays, the availability of mouth grills for kids has taken mouth jewelry to another level as children are drawn to these showy devices. Teenagers are also using mouth grills to emulate their favorite celebrities, to stand out from the crowd, and to make a fashion statement. Most mouth grills are removable, but more expensive mouth grills are permanently attached to the teeth.
There has not yet been much research into the effects of mouth grills on oral health, but most dental practitioners and experts take a cautionary view of these devices. For one thing, mouth grills are made of metals such as gold, platinum, and titanium which can cause potentially serious allergic reactions in some individuals. Even the materials found in plastic grills for children can trigger adverse reactions.
Mouth grills can also cause oral health problems if they have not been properly cast or fitted. Improperly fitted mouth grills can result in fractured or chipped teeth, tooth erosion, jaw strain, and gum recession. They can also cause the teeth to shift, throwing off a person’s bite which can in turn trigger a host of problems. When worn on a long-term basis, mouth grills can also lead to jaw bone loss. This is because mouth grills can interfere with the teeth’s ability to bite and chew, thereby cutting down stimulation to the jaw bone causing it to deteriorate. Another issue with mouth grills is that they are magnets for bacteria. Food easily gets trapped under the grill and in the wire hooks encouraging plaque buildup, tooth decay, and tooth discoloration. As bacteria festers in the mouth, the risk of infection, chronic bad breath, and periodontal disease increases.
In general, sustaining excellent oral hygiene is tricky enough and wearing a mouth grill only makes it that much harder to maintain good oral health. Even the wonders of modern-day restorative and cosmetic dentistry may not be able to completely reverse the harmful effects of mouth grills. Therefore, anyone considering getting a mouth grill, especially one not fitted in a professional dental setting, should ponder whether the risks are really worth it.
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