6 "Health Trends" That Actually Damage Your Teeth
While the internet is a great tool to give us information on any topic at the click of a button, it also comes with its flaws. Sure, there are a ton of great sources of information; however there’s also a lot of misinformation, which makes it difficult for users to figure out what’s accurate and what’s not.
In the medical and nutritional communities, this is extremely discerning. When it comes to seeking out information about our health, we should feel confident that we are getting advice that is not only correct, but also won’t cause us harm.
Unfortunately in this day and age, oftentimes reliable sources are drowned out by the more non-scientific voices, which can come in the form ‘influencers’ like bloggers and celebrity endorsements.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather get my medical information from a trained professional and not someone pretending to be a pro just because they have 10,000 Instagram followers.
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of articles about health “trends” that actually impact oral health in a negative way. As a trained dental professional, I thought I’d call out some of these fads to make sure everyone understands that they are just that – fads.
We’ve been hearing it for years – always start your morning with hot lemon water. The claim is that citrus fruits in water will provide ‘detoxification’ benefits. Unfortunately, there are no products or preparations that have any impact on ‘detoxifying’ the body. The only things that remove any by-products of normal metabolism or ingested chemicals from drugs, medicines or alcohol are the liver and kidneys. Beyond these two vital organs, there is nothing can “detoxify” your body.
With the increased popularity of sipping lemon water and “detox” juices, we’re actually seeing an increase in the number of patients with permanent and irreversible erosion of the tooth enamel, which leads to sensitivity, yellowing and increased risk of decay. So in an attempt to try and be “healthy”, people are actually causing damage to their oral health and not even reaping any actual health benefits.
Coconut Oil Pulling
Coconut oil pulling is an oral detoxification technique whereby people swish coconut oil in their mouth like mouthwash and then spit it out. The aim is to treat gum disease and/or whiten teeth.
While there is nothing to suggest this is harmful, gum disease needs be identified and treated by a dental professional and each patient needs a tailored oral hygiene regime. Oil pulling alone is not going to help.
We’re heard we should eat smaller meals frequently, including snacking regularly, to help us lose weight or maintain a fast metabolism. The reality is that snacking on things like dried fruit increases the frequency of consuming sugar and can lead to dental decay. Dried fruit gets stuck in the pits and fissures of teeth, which are stagnation areas and prime ground for decay to be initiated.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular natural health treatment and is thought to aid weight loss. Acetic acid, a compound found in apple cider vinegar, has been cited in some studies as the active ingredient that helps with weight loss. However, excessive consumption over a prolonged period of time can cause irreversible erosion to enamel.
Recently there have been claims that one should use charcoal toothpaste to brighten your smile, but there has been no evidence to prove its effectiveness in tooth whitening.
While it may lift light surface staining, the truth is, most so-called whitening toothpastes can be abrasive and damage the enamel. Charcoal may even contribute to negative aesthetic effects, as the particles can become embedded in cracks in the enamel or restoration margins. In essence, there is no nutritional evidence for any of these trends, and many are causing significantly more harm than good.
There is an increasing movement of people opting for fluoride-free products, despite the industry using it for decades due to its effectiveness. Fluoride creates the re-strengthening of enamel through remineralisation, and prevents damage known as demineralisation from acid and sugar. Fluoride is essential in the formation of strong enamel, and there is no need to worry about exposing yourself to it; the amount of fluoride in toothpaste is safe because you’re not ingesting it.