After two years of a pandemic, it’s no surprise that we’re all obsessed with staying well.
And as the winter draws in, and colds and flu abound, we’re all looking for tips and tricks that keep bugs at bay.
But while certain hacks promise to boost your immune system, one part of our body is often overlooked: our teeth.
Apple cider vinegar
Payal, clinical director of Quest Dental, said: ‘Apple cider vinegar shots have become hugely popular in recent years, with celebrities and influencers alike swearing by them for having detoxing properties and aiding weight-loss.
‘However, whilst apple cider vinegar may offer some benefits to your health, it can be rather damaging for your teeth, especially if you are drinking daily.
‘Vinegar is extremely acidic and can erode the enamel on your teeth extremely quickly, this then exposes the yellow dentin layer beneath – not only is this extremely damaging for your teeth as our enamel is imperative for a healthy tooth, but this will also make them look yellow.’
Oil puling is the ancient ayurvedic practice of swishing coconut or olive oil around your mouth FOR WHAT REASON?
‘Whilst some experts have noted many health benefits to oil pulling there is no proven evidence that this practice is good for your teeth,’ said Payal.
‘In fact some experts argue that it could worsen some conditions such as gum disease or cavities.’
Payal said: ‘Whilst drinking lemon water each morning holds many detoxifying properties for your digestive system, this daily practice could have a knock on effect for your teeth.
‘Drinking lemon water regularly may cause enamel erosion or tooth decay due to the high content of acid in the citrus fruit.
‘Not only this, drinking too much may also cause heartburn, nausea, headaches and other gastroesophageal reflux symptoms.’
As long as it’s part of a healthy, balanced diet, drinking certain fruit juices can be good for you – but what about your teeth?
Payal said: ‘Drinking juices can help to maintain a healthy functioning body, but when you drink large amounts of juice over a long period of time this could have a huge effect on your teeth and cause long term damage.
‘The high content of sugar that comes from these juices after drinking them daily can wear away tooth enamel and promote cavities.
‘The bacteria that sits on the teeth after drinking juice may also irritate the gums and could eventually lead to gum disease.’
Non dairy milk
While dairy milk is sometimes villainised there can be some draw backs to plant based when it comes to your teeth.
‘Many people have made the switch from dairy milk to substitute milks such as oat, soy and almond milk, and while there are benefits to switching, particularly for those who are lactose intolerant or want to avoid dairy for ethical reasons, there are also some damaging effects which come with these milks,’ said Payal.
‘Those who drink dairy free milk may experience a deficiency in calcium and other mouth friendly nutrients, and a lack of calcium may put you at risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
‘Furthermore, it has been noted that certain non dairy milks such as soy milk can cause mouth bacteria to produce six times more acid than dairy milk, this is worrying as more acid means a bigger chance of enamel erosion as well as more chances of experiencing decay and cavities.’
‘Charcoal toothpaste has been made popular from the likes of social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, however dentists are still sceptical and do not recommend replacing your regular fluoride toothpaste with this,’ said Payal.
‘More research is needed on the long-term effects of this type of toothpaste, but one thing that has been noted is that this is a very abrasive substance, and whilst it does help to remove surface stains, it’s so harsh, so may also slowly tear away at the enamel on your teeth.’
How to protect your teeth while taking part in these health trends:
Payal said: ‘You don’t have to completely abandon these wellness trends if you feel they are beneficial for you in other ways but making sure you look after your teeth is key.
‘When drinking juices, try to use a straw as much as possible, as this will allow the liquid to bypass your teeth and mouth, which should help to prevent any damage.
‘Lemon water can also be drunk through a straw. Try to also manage your lemon to water ratio, and add less lemon to your water so that it is less acidic – yet you are still getting the benefits.
‘You should also ensure that you are maintaining your regular oral health routine so that you can help counteract any damaging effects from these trends.
‘Brushing twice a day using a dentist recommended electric toothbrush, ensuring you are using fluoride toothpaste, flossing twice a day and using mouthwash is also advised.
‘If you want to still use your charcoal toothpaste, I would recommend only using it once or twice a week alongside your fluoride toothpaste, this way you will still see the benefits of using this whilst also protecting your teeth from its abrasive properties.
‘I would always advise speaking to your dentist if you are worried about your dental health so you can be advised on what’s best.
‘You should be visiting your dentist and hygienist for regular check ups and cleans to ensure your teeth remain healthy.’
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