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Tooth Gap Jewelry: Is A Sparkly Smile Safe?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Piercings, tattoos and other body modifications will always be a way for you to express yourself, but not all embellishments have to be permanent. Tooth gap jewelry is a way to dress up your mouth with a removable bit of bling that fills in gaps. Before you add a piece of jewelry to your smile, however, you should know how to make sure it doesn't affect your oral health or hygiene. By wearing gap jewelry responsibly, it can let you express yourself without permanently damaging your smile.

How Does it Work?

Gap jewelry is usually a narrow piece of metal and jewels meant to snap into your tooth gap. With grooves on either side, you slide the piece into place and can remove it as necessary. Some gap jewelry can even come with accessory pieces that snap over your teeth for the popular grills look. Another option is applying tooth gems directly to your teeth with food-safe glue so each tooth has its own sparkle, explains Marie Claire.

While you can have gap jewelry custom-made, the majority of teeth jewels are one-size-fits-all pieces. It doesn't require piercing or permanent modifications to your smile, so it's a great way to change up your look without drastic measures. (If you do have gap jewelry custom-made, you should know that it requires dental impressions, which should only be done by a qualified and accredited dentist.)

Potential Problems

Tooth gap jewelry doesn't require piercing, so it's unlikely to cause any type of infection. Still, the American Dental Association warns that teeth jewelry like gap jewelry and grills can adversely affect oral hygiene, especially when the pieces become breeding grounds for harmful oral bacteria. The fronts or jewelry can hold bacteria against the tooth, potentially causing decay. What's more, foul-smelling bacteria can cause the jewelry to be more sour than stylish.

Staying Healthy

The best way to ensure your tooth gap jewelry always looks great is to talk to your dentist before you invest in a piece. Your dentist can help you choose gap jewelry that is made from quality materials and less likely to damage your smile. If you decide to wear gap jewelry, it's important that you choose a glue-free option that can be removed when you eat or when brushing your teeth. That way, debris is less likely to become trapped in and around the piece and you won't risk extra bacteria or bad breath.

If you're applying tooth gems, use a food-safe glue that is safe when consumed and remember that your saliva will slowly dissolve the glue. Remove the gems if they seem loose to avoid swallowing them.

It's better to wear gap jewelry as a once-in-a-while option to dress up your mouth. Oral jewelry all the time could disrupt your oral health and leave you with bacteria in your mouth that could cause oral disease. As a temporary way to brighten your smile, tooth gems might be a trendy way to express your style without any drastic changes to your teeth.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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