DentalSlim weight-loss device literally locks your mouth shut
UK and University of Otago researchers have presented a "world-first weight loss device," which attaches to the teeth and prevents patients from opening their mouths wider than 2 mm using "magnetic devices and custom-manufactured locking bolts."
The researchers say this medieval-sounding machine, which is fixed to the first molars with orthodontic cement by a dentist, doesn't restrict breathing or speech, but holds people to a liquid diet.
In a study published in the British Dental Journal, seven healthy, obese participants wore the devices for 14 days. They were given a commercially-available liquid diet to follow, giving them 1,200 kcal of energy per day. The mean weight loss over this period was 6.36 kg (14 lb).
The jaw-lock device appears to have been conceived as a less invasive, less dangerous and more humane way to achieve what doctors were going for in the 1980s when some obese patients had their jaws surgically wired shut – a practice that left people at serious risk of choking if they vomited.
To avoid that possibility, the DentalSlim Diet Control comes with an emergency unlocking tool for users to carry with them at all times. No participant in the study reported having used this key, although one patient admitted to "cheating" by sneaking in some melted chocolate and fizzy drinks.
"The main barrier for people for successful weight loss is compliance," says University of Otago Health Sciences Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Brunton, lead researcher on this project. "This helps them establish new habits, allowing them to comply with a low-calorie diet for a period of time. It really kick-starts the process. It is a non-invasive, reversible, economical and attractive alternative to surgical procedures. The fact is, there are no adverse consequences with this device."
"It’s hard yards" says Brunton. "Patients who really want to do this have to be committed. But for those people who are really struggling – and let’s face it, that’s millions of people across the world – this is a way of getting them back into normal lifestyle diet habits by really pump priming the process."
The paper is open access in the British Dental Journal.
Source: University of Otago