It seems that there’s a new article on the web each day detailing some easy, do-it-yourself method for improving health or hygiene. Similarly, our culture is inundated with fads from the entertainment industry – many of them impractical and dated. Not all fads are worth trying, especially fads that can negatively affect oral health.
Dental Fads to Avoid
The “grills” to which we are referring are not the kind used for cooking out in the summer. In this instance, the term “grill” refers to removable appliances or permanent alterations to teeth with compounds made of metals like gold and even platinum. Grills cover the outer surface of teeth to produce the appearance of a gold or platinum smile and sometimes teeth are adorned with diamonds.
While grills have cultural significance to some, they can be bad for one’s oral health. Bacteria and debris can easily become trapped behind grills. People who wear grills have increased risks for tooth decay, periodontal disease, and abscesses.
Toothpaste Without Fluoride
In recent years, we have seen an increase in fluoride-free toothpaste available to consumers. The general public, unless otherwise directed by a health professional, should not avoid fluoridated toothpaste.
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is scientifically proven to strengthen tooth enamel. Be sure to choose fluoridated toothpaste that has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval and use it exactly as directed.
DIY Whitening Products
The ads section of any website and even most social media sites circulate recipes for do-it-yourself (DIY) teeth whitening products. Many of these DIY “dental hacks” contain ingredients such as activated charcoal, vinegar, and lemon juice that are harmful to teeth because they can permanently damage tooth enamel.
Oil pulling is an ancient practice where a person swishes around a small amount of food-grade oil like olive or coconut oil to clean one’s mouth and whiten one’s teeth. If this practice seems too good to be true, it is. There is no scientific evidence to back up claims that oil pulling is beneficial to a person’s oral health or the long-term appearance of their teeth.
When it comes to health fads of any kind, it’s important to consult with professionals as there is an abundance of bad advice circulating on the internet and in the media.