Some people go to extreme lengths to enhance their smile and appearance, like giving into dental fads that seem natural and cost very little. However, while these fads may provide temporary results, they are not based on science and real information, and can damage your oral health in the long term. Here are five dental fads to avoid to protect your teeth.
Charcoal is popping up everywhere as an ingredient in cosmetic products, including toothpaste. Approach this fad with caution, as charcoal has not been approved or deemed safe by the American Dental Association (ADA). Especially non-activated charcoal should be avoided at all costs, as it is poisonous. Although activated charcoal is safe, using activated charcoal on teeth may wear away the enamel and make the teeth look more yellow, rather than whitening them.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
You may encounter hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient in many dental products like mouthwash and toothpaste. Products with safe amounts of hydrogen peroxide have been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). However, hydrogen peroxide should never be used on its own as it can damage your gums and dental tissues.
3. Lemon Juice and Baking Soda
Lemon juice and baking soda together are used as an all-natural teeth whitening solution. Although chemically each of these products can whiten teeth, each can be very damaging to teeth as well. Lemon juice is highly acidic, which can weaken enamel. Baking soda is very abrasive and can wear away the weakened enamel. If you want to brighten your smile, stick to an ADA-approved whitening toothpaste.
4. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing around sunflower, coconut, or sesame oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes to whiten teeth and freshen breath. This method has been used for centuries because there were very few options available. With modern dental care material, oil pulling is no longer relevant, and should never replace regular brushing and flossing. Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence to backup the effectiveness of oil pulling.
5. Extreme Diets
Although extreme diets, such as juice cleanses, can help you shed a few extra pounds, they can also compromise your oral health. For example, with juice cleanses, you don't get the calcium, B12, and other vital nutrients to keep your teeth healthy. Juice is also high in acids and sugar, which can damage your enamel and make your mouth vulnerable to bacterial growth. The best thing to do to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet in moderation.
Remember, there are no short-cuts to dental health. It is best to stick with the tried-and-true soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and regular dental visits to keep your mouth healthy.