‘Torture’ device that locks jaw shut to tackle obesity sparks outrage

Call it the shut your “trap.”

International researchers have come under fire over a controversial new dental device that purports to muzzle obesity by literally sealing people’s mouths shut. The inflammatory fat-fighting contraption, dubbed the “DentalSlim Diet Control, was detailed in a Friday study in the journal “Nature.“

Billed as the “world-first weight-loss device to help fight the global obesity epidemic,” the DentalSlim Diet Control its fitted by a dentist to the patient’s upper and lower back teeth. Its intricate system of magnets and custom-made bolts allows wearers to open their mouths only about 1/16 of an inch, which relegates them to a liquid diet without restricting their talking or breathing.

“It is a non-invasive, reversible, economical and attractive alternative to surgical procedures,” Professor Paul Brunton, pro-vice-chancellor at the New Zealand University of Otago’s Division of Health Sciences, said in a recent press release from the university, which developed the unconventional snack safe in conjunction with British scientists.

University of Otago researchers developed the DentalSlim Diet Control to combat global obesity.
University of Otago researchers developed the DentalSlim Diet Control to combat global obesity.
University of Otago

And it appears the scientists are putting their money where people’s mouths are. A trial based in Duned, New Zealand, claimed users shed an average of 14 pounds in two weeks and “were motivated to continue with their weight loss journey,” per the press release.

“Overall, people felt better about themselves, they had more confidence and they were committed to their weight-loss journey,” Brunton added.

Best of all, in the event of an emergency — or perhaps an extra-special cheat night —the blubber-battling braces can be released via a special tool. They can also be repeatedly installed and taken out at the user’s discretion.

Device inventor Professor Paul Brunton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Otago’s Division of Health Sciences.
Device inventor Paul Brunton of the University of Otago’s Division of Health Sciences.
University of Otago

However, despite Brunton’s claim that the DSDC had no “adverse consequences,” female participants in the study reported that the molar muzzle left them uncomfortable and unable to speak with a sense that “life, in general, was less satisfying,” the Mirror reported.

Many social media users were none too pleased about the idea of putting one’s chompers under house arrest. “And this, kids, is why ethics needs to be taught in science,” wrote one aghast critic of the gastrointestinal gulag. “Good God, I thought medicine was past these kinds of torture devices.”

“Delete this. Delete the research team. Delete everything,” seconded molecular biologist Raven Baxter.

Another skeptic surmised that if someone vomited while wearing the DSDC they would “choke to death or aspirate.” They added that the literal lockjaw was bad for “dental hygiene,” as it inhibited brushing and flossing.

However, Brunton insisted that the dental device was not a cure-all for corpulence but, rather, one component in a “phased approach to weight loss supported by advice from a dietician allowing long-term weight loss goals to be realized.”

The diet enforcer is “particularly helpful for those having to lose weight before they can undergo surgery, and for diabetes patients for whom weight loss could initiate remission,” per the press release.

Recent studies revealed that 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight with 650 million qualifying as obese, WHO reported.

Living | New York Post

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