Grillz are removable decorative tooth covers. They are often made of gold, silver or jewel-encrusted precious metals that snap over one or more teeth.
They have been around in some form for thousands of years as a way of showing social status but made their way into mainstream pop culture in the early 1980s. They’re still worn today by many celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Jay-z.
Grillz are often used as a form of self-expression and identity, and an opportunity to show off something flashy… but they may not be a healthy choice for your smile.
Grillz are not recommended because they could pose to your oral health and hygiene.
By wearing Grillz you might increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. This is because bacterial plaque can get trapped between them and the tooth’s surface.
When plaque builds up, it can have serious consequences to the health of your mouth. The bacteria in plaque feed off sugars in your food and drinks and form acids. Over time, these acids can cause tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque can also irritate your gums, leading to periodontal disease. Both tooth decay and periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
Grillz do not perform any function and will not help keep your teeth in place, despite what some people think, and in fact might even misalign your teeth if you wear them for a long time.
Grillz can also interfere with your bite, making it difficult to close your mouth properly. They can also cause headaches and pain from propping the mouth open in an unnatural position.
Removable and permanent grillz
Both removable and permanent grillz are not recommended. Both types of grillz could pose health risks, including plaque build-up and tooth decay.
A ‘plaque trap’ can easily develop as the tooth surface is impossible to clean properly. It is this that leaves you at more risk of tooth decay.
There have been stories of people attempting to attach a removable grill permanently with glue at home. This could lead to serious and long-term damage to the tooth enamel and gums and is not advised. If glue is ingested, it could also be deadly.
Taking care of a grill
If you already have a grill, please follow the following advice:
- Keep it clean to avoid plaque and bacteria build up.
- Brush it with a separate soft bristled toothbrush.
- Brush your teeth and clean between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss before putting it back in.
- Avoid using jewellery cleaners or any products that are dangerous to ingest.
Seeing the right people
Some people have grillz made by a jeweller, especially if they are ordering a grill containing lots of precious metals or gemstones. This is not recommended as jewellers will not be able to fit the grill to your teeth as well as a dentist.
Poor fitting grillz can cause injuries and damage to both your teeth and gums as well as making it harder to speak.
If you are considering any form of grill ordered and fitted, speak with your dentist first. They will be able to assess the health of your mouth and teeth to make sure you are not putting your oral health at risk.
Most importantly, the safest thing to do is avoid them altogether.