5 Health Trends That Are Damaging Your Teeth

, by

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

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: 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

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. 

Fluoride-Free Toothpastes 

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. 

Need a dentist in Apex, NC? Click here to schedule an appointment at Hansen Dentistry. 

Apex Dentist Recommends NOT Using Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

, by

The last time you were browsing Pinterest or Instagram, you might have seen an ad for one of the hippest new health trends: Activated charcoal toothpaste. Made from coal, wood, and other substances, activated charcoal has started popping up as a miracle cure in everything from soap to lotion. But this stuff should never come into contact with your teeth—and here’s why from Dr. Hansen, our Apex NC dentist.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is made primarily from coal and wood, but can also contain other burned things, like coconut shells and bones. It becomes “activated” when high temperatures combine with a gas or activating agent to expand its surface area. Traditionally, charcoal has been used to treat poisoning and drug overdoses, as far back as ancient times. When a person ingests activated charcoal, drugs and toxins bind to it, keeping them from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Many people believe that it absorbs other “toxins”, too. 

Why shouldn’t charcoal be used on teeth?

There has been very little evidence of charcoal toothpaste’s safety and effectiveness. In September 2017, the American Dental Association (ADA) published a peer-reviewed scientific literature review stating that researchers found little evidence that charcoal reduces bacteria, prevents cavities, or even reduces tooth stains. Researchers even pointed out some possible carcinogenic ingredients in charcoal and in clay that are found in some of these toothpastes that could be damaging to human health.

What we do know about charcoal toothpaste

While more research might contradict previous studies’ findings, there is something we do know about activated charcoal: it’s extremely abrasive on teeth. That means it can easily damage your enamel, exposing the sensitive dentin beneath. Since dentin is naturally yellow, this means that charcoal toothpaste won’t make your teeth appear white; on the contrary, it will make them look more stained. And once your enamel isn’t protecting your teeth anymore, your cosmetic appearance will be the least of your problems—anything hot, cold, hard, or acidic will be extremely painful! 

Get the best solution for teeth whitening with our Apex cosmetic dentist

If you want to have whiter teeth, the most effective, safe and long-lasting whitening method is using custom whitening trays made by a dentist, or some other professional whitening method. If you use charcoal toothpaste, you might as well brush your teeth with sand—so be sure to book an appointment with our Apex dentist today.

How Cosmetic Dentistry Gives You More Confidence, from Our Apex Dentist

, by

brunette woman hiding smile behind handsIt’s nice to imagine a world where looks aren’t important, but we don’t live there, do we? The truth is, the majority of the population will initially judge us based on our appearance. The first attribute most people notice is the eyes, followed closely by the smile. Crooked, discolored, or missing teeth send the message that a person does not take good care of himself. An unattractive smile also conveys poor health and can make you look older than you are.

Fortunately, we live in the age of cosmetic dentistry, when a visit to Dr. Hansen’s Apex, NC dental office could change your smile and the impression you make.

What They’re Really Thinking

These aren’t just assumptions. They’re facts. The American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry has published polls telling us that with an appealing smile, a person is more likely to be thought of as healthy, confident, wealthy, and friendly. A study by Kelton Research went further to state, after teeth whitening, job applicants were more likely to be hired and receive a higher salary.

Strip the emotional sting of being judged by looks out of the equation, and it makes sense to improve your smile’s appearance if you don’t naturally have an appealing smile.

What is an “attractive smile?”

The traditional attractive smile in the United States has:

  • No missing teeth
  • Straight teeth
  • White teeth
  • Teeth with the traditional tooth shape, no imperfections
  • No chipped or cracked teeth
  • No metal dental work
  • Teeth have natural reflectivity (don’t look dull or fake)
  • Teeth that are proportionate to the facial features
  • Symmetrical teeth, right and left
  • Only a small amount of gum tissue showing above top teeth
  • Healthy gums
  • Fresh breath

How can cosmetic dentistry help?

Correcting your smile’s imperfections is possible with cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Hansen will need to talk with you about what you love and hate about your teeth, and he’ll also conduct a thorough oral health examination. All cosmetic restorations should be build upon a healthy foundation, so they’ll endure the test of time. Oral health is also paramount to overall health, and your health is of utmost importance to us.

Dr. Hansen will suggest the appropriate cosmetic dentistry procedures to brighten, straighten, and correct your teeth. He may also recommend a periodontal (gum tissue) procedure, if appropriate. You will have options. For instance, porcelain veneers can correct the size, shape, alignment, and color of your teeth. However, you may opt for dental bonding instead. Bonding does not last as long as veneers, but it also does not cost as much. However, porcelain veneers cover the entire front surface of a tooth and can look new for many years. Dr. Hansen will inform you of the pros and cons of various treatment options, so you and he can devise a practical treatment plan that will deliver the smile you want.

Schedule a Smile Consultation Today

Are you ready to discuss the potential for your smile? Call our Apex, NC dental office today at 919-363-8444 today. With the Hansen Dentistry Membership Savings Plan, you could save 20% on some cosmetic and restorative procedures.