This Fuller-Lip Trick Could Be Bad News

They’re one of the most coveted signs of beauty today: thick, luscious lips. But getting them isn’t always as easy or affordable as it seems. It used to be if you weren’t born with them, you were out of luck, but a variety of products designed to make your lips look bigger and fuller have popped up in recent years. One trend, lip injections, uses fillers such as collagen or hyaluronic acid to semi-permanently plump up the lips. Unfortunately, these injections can be painful and costly. Lip-enhancing glosses and pencils are painless and far less expensive, but only last as long as the products remain on your lips. Until recently, these were the only options, but a new product has now hit the market – suction-cup lip plumpers.

The newest trend in lip-plumping is using a suction cup to naturally puff up lips. A device is fitted over the mouth and draws the blood vessels to your lips as you pump. Most devices retail for around $20 and require about two minutes of pumping for noticeable results, which last up to three hours at a time – all without needles, lipstick or gloss. But while this may seem like the perfect solution for some, it may come at an unexpected cost to your smile.

“What I’ve been hearing is that some pumps have such strong suction, it’s literally pulling people’s teeth out of alignment,” says Dr. Alexandra George, a dentist in Wexford, Pennsylvania. “That’s not exactly my idea of the perfect smile!”

According to George, though no one has reportedly pulled a tooth out with a pump, the device can loosen teeth enough to undo years of orthodontic straightening, which doesn’t just look bad, bu can cause everything from excessive wear, jaw pain, tooth decay and even gum disease.

“The irony is, by trying to improve your smile, over time you could actually be making it worse,” says George. “And all for something that only lasts a few hours. For now, you’re better off sticking with the plumping glosses or saving up for injections. What’s the point of drawing attention to your mouth if you’re damaging your teeth in the process?”

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on September 6th, 2017