New weight loss device literally puts a metal lock on your teeth

Researchers have developed a new weight loss device that appears a bit medieval in nature, but may be useful for those who are desperate to shed some pounds. Called DentalSlim, the device is intended to prevent the user from opening their mouth enough to eat solid foods, forcing them to stick with a liquid diet. According to the researchers, the device doesn't impact speaking or breathing.

DentalSlim is the first device of its kind, according to researchers with the Univerity of Otago. Billed as a diet control device, the intra-oral contraption is designed to attach to one's upper and lower back molars. A dentist fits the device, which uses custom locking bolts and magnets to prevent the user's mouth from opening more than 2mm.

The opening reportedly accommodates breathing, talking, and consuming liquids, but is too small for someone to eat whole foods (unless they were particularly patient and motivated). A trial involving DentalSlim saw participants lose an average of about 14lbs over two weeks while using the device.

DentalSlim includes an emergency release, plus it can be put in place and removed multiple times. The device is presented as a cheaper, non-invasive way for obese adults to restrict their caloric intake. The researchers explain this may be particularly useful for individuals who need to shed pounds before they can get surgery.

The researchers note that DentalSlim is different than the old school practice of wiring a person's jaw closed, which was found to cause gum disease in many people in addition to safety risks and potential mental health consequences. DentalSlim's design has been refined since the study to make it smaller and more comfortable. It's unclear when/if the device will enter the market.