If you’ve been on the internet lately, you’ve surely seen or read about an abundance of health and dental fads. Here are three popular dental fads we recommend avoiding to protect your oral health!
- Oil Pulling
- Lemon Juice & Baking Soda
- Brushing with Charcoal
Oil pulling is a very old oral care practice that has seen a surge in popularity the last few years. The idea behind oil pulling is to swish oil (such as coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil) around your mouth for 20-30 minutes then spitting it out. Doing so is said to whiten teeth, freshen breath, and fight plaque. Some people even claim that it detoxifies your body. However, the American Dental Association has stated that “oil pulling is not recommended as a supplementary oral hygiene practice, and certainly not as a replacement for standard, time-tested oral health behaviors and modalities.” We recommend brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste to optimally protect against tooth decay and bad breath.
Lemon juice and baking soda is another dental fad that is said to have teeth whitening abilities. Unfortunately, each of these substances comes with their own separate dangers for your oral health. Lemon juice is a very acidic liquid. Repeated exposure puts you at risk of enamel damage which can result in tooth sensitivity, discoloration, and decay. Baking soda, on the other hand, is a common ingredient found in many American Dental Association (ADA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved toothpastes, but too much can be very abrasive to your teeth, which also wears down the enamel.
Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal capsules is another popular Pinterest and YouTube dental fad. Some people claim that it is the greatest natural method to whiten your teeth and that it draws out other toxins from your body. As amazing as that sounds, a spokesperson for the ADA, Kim Harms, DDS, says there is no evidence at all that activated charcoal does any good for your teeth. Charcoal is much too abrasive for your teeth and can even make them more yellow by wearing down the enamel and eventually exposing the underlying yellow dentin.
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