Many of us hear about the latest crazes that tend to take over now and then. When it comes to health trends that claim to be good for you, it can be harmful to engage in a practice that’s not been proven to help anything!
When it comes to your teeth, you want to be careful about what substances you use or what activities you engage in that could be damaging to your oral health.
What trends should you stay away from when it comes to your smile? Here are five dental trends you’ll want to question in order to have a healthy mouth.
- Oil Pulling
Oil pulling has been all the rage. This practice involves taking a tablespoon of coconut oil or sesame oil and swishing it around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes daily. The idea behind this practice is that the oil pulls toxins out of your mouth and reduces plaque buildup.
But what does the research say? Although not recommended by the American Dental Association, tentative research shows that this practice has the potential to benefit your smile when practiced correctly.
However, oil pulling poses a risk for a few reasons. People tend to use oil pulling in place of brushing and flossing, thinking that the oil takes care of bacteria and plaque. This isn’t true, and oil pulling should only be considered a supplementary practice to your regular dental routine of brushing, flossing, and visiting your Asheville dentist.
In addition, the practice dictates that you do oil pulling immediately upon waking and then brush your teeth immediately afterward. However, this practice could be harmful to teeth. We recommend not brushing until approximately 30 minutes after eating, and while oil pulling isn’t quite considered eating, your tooth enamel has still had time to be affected by the oil in your mouth and can be more susceptible to erosion after this practice.
If you choose to do oil pulling, some dentists recommend brushing before oil pulling, which may be more helpful. Although we don’t recommend oil pulling, if you do choose to engage in this practice, be sure to follow the correct protocol to avoid harming your teeth and keep your regular dental appointments to ensure your teeth are healthy and strong!
2. Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been hailed as curing everything from high blood pressure to acne. However, the acidity of this popular health fad could have your tooth enamel suffering.
Being more on the acidic side of the pH scale (apple cider vinegar ranges from 3-5 with 7 being neutral), apple cider vinegar can quickly work to damage tooth enamel if it’s not diluted or at least followed with water.
Some dentists speculate that as a result of apple cider vinegar’s acidity, the liquid can be difficult to neutralize in the oral cavity and can attack tooth enamel, causing teeth to become more sensitive.
Since apple cider vinegar has the potential to erode tooth enamel, it can also cause dentin, the softer layer of tissue underneath enamel, to become exposed. Not only does this promote tooth sensitivity; it can also cause tooth discoloration.
Although research does support some benefits of apple cider vinegar, the important thing to remember is to consume in moderation and always drink water with apple cider vinegar or after you drink or consume apple cider vinegar to minimize damage to your teeth!
3. Using Charcoal Toothpaste
Charcoal toothpaste has become wildly popular in the last few years. This toothpaste uses activated charcoal which claims to naturally whiten teeth and “detox” the oral cavity. But is it harmful to your smile?
For some people, using charcoal toothpaste may be too abrasive for their teeth and worsen gum recession or tooth sensitivity. If you choose to try charcoal toothpaste, be sure the one you’re using isn’t too gritty for your teeth. You don’t want a paste so abrasive that it’s going to hurt your tooth enamel.
You should also avoid brushing too hard with charcoal toothpaste. Harsh brushing can be very damaging to teeth, so use softer, gentle movements when using any kind of toothpaste, but especially if you choose to use charcoal toothpaste.
Although the verdict is not out on whether or not charcoal toothpaste actually benefits your smile, you can use it, but be sure to use it correctly to avoid any harm to your teeth and gums and as always, continue with your regular checkups.
4. Drinking Lemon Water
Drinking water with lemon has long been a popular practice, but more people are realizing the benefits of drinking room temperature water with more than a slice of lemon in it some people put up to a half of lemon in their water.
However, similarly to apple cider vinegar, lemon has a low pH (typically from 2-3) which makes it extremely damaging to tooth enamel. If you’re drinking lemon water, especially in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink, you could be putting your smile at risk for enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity.
When it comes to foods that are beneficial for your teeth, lemons share the same pH as soda, so keep this in mind when you’re drinking lemon water. To enjoy the benefits of lemon without the enamel damage, try drinking it with a straw!
5. Getting Trendy Oral Piercings
Of course, dentists have long known the negative effects that oral piercings can have on the mouth. Tongue and lip rings can rub against the teeth and cause gum recession, chips, and even cracks in your tooth enamel.
However, recent trends such as the smiley piercing which is piercing the piece of connective tissue that connects your upper lip to your gums have surfaced, causing even more damage when jewelry like this rubs against the front teeth every time your mouth moves.
These trends are not only dangerous but can cause irreversible damage to your smile which will need cosmetic dentistry to fix. Keeping jewelry out of the mouth can help protect your teeth and gums from damage and encourage a healthy smile for life!
When it comes to trends that are closely tied to your health, it’s always best to check with your doctor or your dentist in Asheville to determine if these practices are good choices for you.
While some trends such as drinking apple cider vinegar or oil pulling might be beneficial for some people, the point is that it’s not beneficial for everyone and it carries the potential to harm your smile.
If you’ve been engaging in any of the above practices or if you’re concerned about your smile, get in touch with your Asheville dentist Dr. Saunders to schedule an appointment today. Our team is here to keep your teeth and gums strong, healthy, and beautiful for life!