Over the past few years, many members of the public have come to distrust commercial products—and are instead turning to homemade concoctions promoted by celebrities and trendy health blogs. In many cases, though, the advice of internet influencers and self-proclaimed health “gurus” may do much more harm than good. In today’s post, our Apex cosmetic dentist explains why, if you want better teeth, you’re better consulting a professional with a dental degree than a model with 1 million followers.
Lemon “Detox” Recipes
The concept of “detoxing”—or consuming various foods and drinks to remove “toxins” from the body–has become very popular in recent years. Instagram is chock-full of celebrities and influencers boosting various “detox” juices, water infusions and smoothies. But beware of any recipe that advises you to suck on a lime, or drink a glass of what is essentially mostly lemon juice: lemon is extremely acidic, and is one of many foods that can damage the enamel. As for the detoxification benefits, the only things that can remove ingested bi-products from drugs, medicines or alcohol are the kidneys and liver. Now, is a glass of lemon water as bad for your teeth as a glass of Coke? Of course not. Just be aware of the risks of prolonged contact, and be sure to brush when you’re done.
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil, usually coconut oil, around the mouth for up to 20 minutes a day. Advocates believe that bad tooth bacteria, food, and plaque will “stick” to the oil and are eliminated when the oil is spat out. Some also believe that the oil pulls (hence the name) toxins out of the body. However, as we mentioned above, only the kidneys and livers can remove toxins. As to the other claims, plaque really needs pressure to be removed, from a toothbrush, floss, or dental tool. While oil pulling itself probably isn’t doing any harm, any benefits could be duplicated just as easily with regular mouthwash.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Many celebrities like Miranda Kerr have advertised the supposed health benefits of drinking a glass of apple cider vinegar water each day. Some “influencers” even promote drinking a straight teaspoon of pure vinegar once a day. However, excessive consumption of vinegar over a prolonged period of time will likely cause the tooth’s enamel to erode. This isn’t just speculation: a 2012 case study found that the erosive wear in a young woman’s teeth was a result of consuming a glass of apple cider vinegar water once a day. Your best bet for dental health and weight loss are tried-and-true methods: calorie counting, exercise, and toothpaste.
Charcoal toothpaste is another trend that has emerged in recent years, this said to whiten the teeth better than whitening toothpastes and treatments. However, to date there have been no studies demonstrating that this is true. What is likely is that, like baking soda and other abrasive substances, charcoal toothpaste scours away the tooth’s enamel. While users will initially see results, eventually, the teeth will become more sensitive and cavity-prone. They may even begin to look yellow as the naturally yellowish dentin beneath the enamel starts to show through.
As concerns about the safety and efficacy of vaccination have emerged, so too has suspicion about another common safety measure: fluoride. Though fluoride is a natural mineral, similar to calcium, which has been proven to strengthen tooth enamel, many consumers have begun to believe that it can cause cancer, dementia and diabetes. These claims have been disproven many times, however; American dental health has continued to improve, thanks to both it and other factors. countless studies have shown that patients who use fluoride toothpastes experience less cavities and better overall dental health than those who don’t. Since fluoride was added to our public drinking water over 75 years ago, American oral health has dramatically improved, thanks to it and other factors.
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