Social Media and Oral Health

August 15, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

With sites like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram hosting literally billions of users, it’s no wonder that social media has become such a big part of our lives. Social media influences everything from our dietary choices to our clothing and even health decisions, too.

Recently, many young adults ‘went viral’ for sharing photos of their teeth before having crowns attached. Others are quick to show before and afters of veneers and braces, with their impressive results boosting interest in cosmetic procedures.

But a disturbing trend has come out of social media influence when it comes to oral health. According to a recent study published in Dentistry UK, many people are now getting their oral health advice from social media – instead of from a board-certified dentist.

While self-diagnosis is nothing new (people have been Googling their symptoms for as long as Google has been around) the trend of going to non-experts to diagnose one’s self can be dangerous, especially if the influencer is wrong.

Many attribute this new trend in diagnoses to the pandemic and to odontophobia, or the fear of going to the dentist. But it doesn’t have to be all bad, either. Hopefully, if someone hears or sees their symptoms in a TikTok video, they may feel empowered to contact their dentist before the problem gets worse. This can help create awareness that may not have been there prior to watching the video or viewing images on a post.

The bottom line, however, is that social media should not be used to replace your dentist. If you are noticing any pain, sensitivity, tenderness, or anything out of the ordinary in your mouth, please don’t go to social media for answers. Contact your dentist immediately and schedule an appointment to have your situation evaluated.

In many cases, social media influencers mean well, but there is no substitute for going in person to your dentist and having your teeth examined live. If you have any questions or concerns about anything you have seen on social media concerning oral health, contact Dr. Mingus today and he will be happy to help clarify what you are seeing and to evaluate your own mouth to help protect your oral health.