Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand have developed a magnetic dental device designed to help people to lose weight. They are calling it DentalSlim Diet Control.
The device has to be installed by a dentist. It fits to the upper and lower teeth at the back of the mouth and uses magnetism to restrict the wearer’s ability to open their mouth.
After the magnetic device has been bolted to the back teeth, using special, custom-built bolts, it’s only possible to open the teeth by 2 mm.
With the teeth locked in this way, it’s impossible to eat normally. You have to survive on a liquid diet. However, the researchers say their DentalSlim Diet Control device does not prevent free speech or interfere with breathing.
Any device that restricts eating ability in this way can make it easier to lower your daily calorie intake so the DentalSlim Diet Device does have potential as a weight loss aid.
Back in the 70s and 80s, people used to have their jaws wired shut for the same reason. The practice is no longer popular and that’s not surprising. Regardless of whether you are using magnets or wires, restricting jaw movement in this way is an extreme way to try and lose weight.
When the University of Otago shared the news of its invention via Twitter, many of the replies compared the new magnetic contraption to a medieval torture device.
Others raised concerns about the possible dangers if the wearer needs to throw up or receive emergency medical treatment that requires an open mouth.
Apparently, people wearing the device are given a special tool that makes it possible to open the mouth in an emergency. However, how many people would remember to keep the tool close at hand every minute of the day, just in case?
More importantly, if something bad did occur, such as choking or a need for the kiss of life, how likely is it that anyone trying to provide emergency assistance would know of the tool’s existence or where to find it?
Regardless of the potential negative issues, the DentalSlim magnetic device is certainly a better option than having your jaw wired to lose weight but only marginally so.
According to the British Dental Journal(June 25, 2021), the magnetic device worked well in a clinical trial.
Seven obese people took part. After the magnetic device was fitted, they were fed a commercially available liquid diet and attained an average mean weight loss of 6.36 kg.
However, the road to weight loss was not easy. The participants said they “felt that life in general was less satisfying” and there were reports of discomfort, difficulty speaking, and feelings of embarrassment.
Obesity is a worldwide problem. Lots of people are struggling to lose weight, but the DentalSlim Diet Control device only forces people into a physical situation where it becomes difficult to eat.
As with jaw wiring, the magnetic device will not prevent hunger and the 2 mm gap between the teeth will make it difficult to seek relief by taking an appetite suppressing diet pill.
The device may also make it hard to get sufficient dietary fiber and there will be no way to take advantage of the stomach-filling capabilities of low-calorie, high volume foods.
Bearing in mind how unpleasant hunger can be, especially for women, the Twitter comments that compare DentalSlim Diet Control to a torture device seem very appropriate.
Will magnetic mouthpieces that make it hard to eat become popular weight loss aids in the future? Only time will tell but there are strong arguments for allowing your jaw to retain its freedom and using an alternative weight loss tool instead. (How Appetite Suppressants Help with Weight Loss)