New Weight Loss Device Could Harm Teeth and Gums

July 10, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

Weight loss is a 60 billion-dollar-a-year industry, according to data from Marketdata Enterprises. From weight loss programs to special foods, books, apps, and fitness devices, Americans’ pursuit of weight loss can be costly. But how much of it actually works? While diet and exercise remain the gold standard, some people still hope for a ‘quick fix,’ a miracle pill or device that will take off weight quickly without any effort. Now, a new device being tested in the United Kingdom and Australia claims it could be that quick fix – but it’s not without its problems.

In a similar fashion to having your jaw wired shut, as people used to do to lose weight decades ago, this new magnetic device cements to your molars and closes your jaw with magnets. If the wearer panics or has an emergency, the device can be unlocked with a key.

The device is designed to keep the mouth closed and disable the ability to chew so that the wearer is more likely to stick to the liquid diet they are prescribed. This has been found in clinical trials to be effective, with participants losing up to 14 pounds in two weeks. The caveat? They begin gaining that weight back as soon as the device comes off. But that’s not all.

One of the major problems with jaw wiring was the issues it caused to wearers’ oral health. Namely, it caused or worsened periodontal disease (gum disease) whether effective or not. With this new device, brushing your teeth would also be a challenge, especially while the device is locked. You would not only need to be careful to clean the device itself and then clean around the device, you would need to unlock it at least twice a day to clean your teeth. If unlocking the device frequently is that easy, it may be too easy to simply unlock it to eat off-plan foods.

So, should you consider one of these dietary devices? It may seem like a miracle device, but it’s a bandaid solution that could cause bigger problems, such as gum disease or cavities, something which can be far more dangerous to your health than a few extra pounds. You are better off losing weight slowly, at a healthy pace, and maintaining your regular oral health practices (brushing twice a day, for two minutes at a time, and flossing at least once a day).