What are grills and are they bad for your teeth?

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Award-winning hygienist Anna Middleton – also known as London Hygienist – answers your questions about grills and discusses her collaboration with jewellers Bullionaire and Co.

What are grills? 

Grills, also called “grillz” or “fronts,” are decorative covers often made of gold, silver or jewel-encrusted precious metals that snap over one or more of your teeth. They generally are removable, but some grill wearers have had their teeth altered with gold crowns to permanently resemble a grill.

Why are they so popular? 

Researchers date the first grillz as far back as 2,500 BC when a team of early 20th century archaeologists discovered a man in Giza buried with two gold teeth. Etruscan women wore grillz as a status symbol up until 100 AD. Mayans wore grillz too. Just not gold or diamond ones. Instead, they preferred to wear jade, inserting the stones directly into their teeth. 

When looking at the 4,500 year history, one thing remains constant: what they symbolise which is, power, status and wealth. They're also no longer reserved strictly for the hip-hop crowd, with artists and athletes across all genres and sports rocking them

What did the collaboration with Bullionaire and Co involve? 

Being passionate about good oral hygiene the collab allowed for an opportunity to educate about routine hygiene appointments and how important and even 'cool' it is to visit the hygienist, to keep both your teeth and grillz sparkling. 

As an EMS 'guided biofilm therapy' provider I also wanted to demonstrate how gentle and safe this system is for cleaning teeth as well as precious metal and jewels. 

Are there any risks with grills? Can they affect oral hygiene? 

The big one is poor oral hygiene which can lead to dental decay and gum disease. Most grillz are removable and designed to sit on top of the teeth, meaning that plaque, bacteria, and food debris can get trapped around and underneath the grillz, which over time will increase the risk of dental decay, gum disease and erosion, especially if eating and drinking with them in place.

How can patients make sure their oral hygiene stays optimal while wearing grills? 

I would always advice a dental check-up to ensure your mouth is healthy. If you go down the grillz route then make sure you take them out to eat and drink. Brush twice a day with an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Clean in-between teeth at least once a day with floss or interdental brushes and visit a dental hygienist for routine professional cleaning. 

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