From pet rocks to gigapets (remember those?), fads capture people’s imaginations — and their wallets. But when it comes to your smile, a new fad that promises whiter and cleaner teeth, for example, may end up just damaging your smile instead.
As your dentist in San Diego, we’ve seen a lot of dental fads go awry. Others hang around for several years but don’t seem to really make all that much of a difference (and a lot of money goes down the drain in the meantime). To help you sort out fact from fiction, we evaluate the efficacy of three of the most common dental fads in this week’s blog post.
#1: Coconut Oil Pulling
Oil “pulling” (usually with coconut oil) is a relatively well-known practice that is thought to promote better oral health and remove some stains at the same time. To practice oil pulling, you swish about a tablespoon of coconut oil around your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes and then spit it out. Some people notice fresher breath, healthier teeth and gums, and a cleaner smile with consistent oil pulling. Others claim their teeth are whiter, too.
Unfortunately, we’re not so convinced — and neither is the American Dental Association. There is insufficient evidence that oil pulling actually does any of the things people think it does, and if you’re unlucky, swishing that oil around your mouth every morning can give you an upset stomach.
#2: Charcoal Teeth Whitening
Another fad that has risen up over the last few years is charcoal teeth whitening, or using activated charcoal to remove surface stains from the tooth enamel. YouTube personality Natural Mama popularized the method, claiming that the mineral can “bind up poisons, chemicals, and even intestinal gas and safely remove them from the body.” All while also whitening your teeth!
Sorry Natural Mama, but we say that’s just not true. Maybe rubbing abrasive charcoal on your teeth takes off stains, but it’s also highly likely to damage your tooth enamel in the process. That can leave you at a higher risk of tooth decay, sensitivity, and a host of other issues.
Whitestrips for brighter smiles rose in popularity in the middle of the last decade. The idea is to wear the one-size-fits-all strips filled with bleaching gel for a certain amount of time over a period of one to two weeks. It really took off here in the US.
While whitestrips can provide a fair amount of whitening, they also leave you at a higher risk of developing tooth sensitivity since it’s often tempting to keep using them after the recommended treatment period. The one-size-fits-all method may also cause burns on your gums and other soft oral tissues. For the safest teeth whitening, always partner with your dentist for a professional treatment!
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman has over 25 years of experience in dentistry and is currently becoming accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. To learn more about the services offered at Mod Squad Dental or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to contact the office at 858-547-0070.