Be Careful of Oral Health Fads
LLY SPEAKING, INFLUENCERS are not a great source of health advice. One person’s experience with a technique or product is not going to be universal, and real understanding of the way the human body works comes from years of study and training, not a quick google search. With that in mind, there are a few specific oral health fads and cosmetic dental trends we want to warn our patients about.
Cosmetic Dentistry Don’ts
1. Don’t widen a tooth gap for a “cuter” look.
Enamel reshaping can be a very legitimate procedure. If a tooth has a minor chip or is oddly shaped, enamel reshaping can help it match its neighbors. Enamel reshaping can also smooth out the little bumps (mamelons) on the ends of adult teeth if they aren’t wearing away on their own. But to widen a gap just to look cute, as happened on America’s Next Top Model? The (alleged) cosmetic appeal does not outweigh the potential damage to the teeth and how they fit together.
2. Don’t get vampire fangs.
It seems a different movie monster is popular every decade, but that doesn’t mean we should try to look like them. Changing the shape of your teeth to make them look like fangs is going to remove a lot of enamel, which won’t grow back. A better idea is to get a good pair of removable custom fangs to go over your normal, healthy teeth.
3. Don’t get gems embedded in your teeth.
We all want sparkling smiles, but we don’t recommend taking that as literally as getting gems surgically implanted in your teeth. That’s a recipe for cavities and regret.
Dental Health Don’ts
1. Don’t clean your teeth with lemon juice.
As part of the “all-natural remedies” craze, some people are trying lemon juice and other household substances like apple cider vinegar and baking soda to clean their teeth. Lemon juice is highly acidic. Tooth enamel might be very hard, but it is extremely vulnerable to acid erosion, so acidic substances make very counterproductive toothpastes.
2. Don’t clean your teeth with activated charcoal.
While charcoal can indeed be used to absorb toxins, including in some types of poisoning, it doesn’t zero in on only harmful chemicals. Its highly porous texture means that it absorbs everything, both good and bad! It’s also very abrasive, and there is no evidence that it helps teeth more than it harms them.
3. Oil pulling probably won’t hurt, but it won’t help either.
One of the stranger trends we’ve seen is oil pulling, or swishing a small amount of oil in your mouth for twenty minute stretches in hopes of achieving whitening effects. Unlike the other items on this list, it won’t do any harm to your teeth, but it’s a lot of time to spend on something that has no proven benefits.
For Trustworthy Advice, Start With Us!
The main takeaway here is that no matter what seems cool or effective in the moment, it’s always better to consult with actual dental health professionals before making big changes to your dental hygiene routine or the appearance of your teeth. If you’ve been hearing a lot about some new fad, run it by the dentist the next time you come in for a cleaning!
Let the pros help you choose science over the fads!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.