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Health trends that could damage your teeth

BY Payal Bhalla

11th Jan 2023 Wellbeing

Health trends that could damage your teeth

How to protect your teeth while partaking in potentially-damaging trends like juice cleanses and charcoal toothpaste

Health and wellness has become huge over the past five years, with many new and kooky wellness trends making it to the forefront from the likes of TikTok and other social media platforms, but are there downsides to these trends? Well, yes, there are. Whilst these trends have been widely praised for their many health benefits, this has overlooked how they may be affecting our teeth.

Here, Payal Bhalla, Lead Dentist and Clinical Director of Quest Dental reveals the trends that could be doing damage to our teeth, and also offers advice for protecting teeth whilst partaking in these trends.

1. Juice cleanses

Drinking green health juiceDrinking juice is good for your body but can be bad for your teeth. Credit: kieferpix

There are no doubts that juice cleanses are good for you and 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.

"The high content of sugar that comes from juices can wear away tooth enamel and promote cavities"

2. Lemon water

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 pay also causes heartburn, nausea, headaches and other gastroesophageal reflux symptoms.

3. Apple cider vinegar shots

Apple cider vinegar shot with apples behind itAlthough popular with celebrities, apple cider vinegar shots are very acidic. Credit: somdul

Apple cider vinegar shots have become hugely popular in recent years, with celebrities and influencers alike swearing by it 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 if you are drinking daily, 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.

4. Non-dairy milk

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 such as 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. 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, not only this, calcium is a nutrient needed to sustain healthy and strong teeth and bones. 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.

"Soy milk can cause mouth bacteria to produce six times more acid than dairy milk, which means a bigger chance of enamel erosion"

5. Charcoal toothpaste

woman brushing teeth with black charcoal toothpasteDespite removing stains, charcoal toothpaste with very abrasive. Credit: VladimirFLoyd

Charcoal toothpaste has been made popular from the likes of social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, however dentists are still skeptical and do not recommend replacing your regular fluoride toothpaste with this. 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.

6. Oil pulling

Whilst some experts have noted many health benefits to oil pulling (the ancient ayurvedic practice of swishing coconut or olive oil around your mouth) there is no proven evidence that this practice is good for your teeth, in fact some experts argue that it could worsen some conditions such as gum disease or cavities.

How can you protect your teeth whilst engaging in these health trends?

You don't have to completely abandon these wellness trends if you feel they are beneficial for you in other ways, just making sure you do them in a healthy way and look after your teeth is key.

1. Use a straw

Woman drinking green juice with yellow strawProtect your teeth by using a straw with juices and lemon water. Credit: DenizA

When drinking juices, try to use a straw as much as possible, 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.

2. Maintain your regular dental routine

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.

3. Use a fluoride toothpaste alongside whitening ones

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.

"If you want to still use your charcoal toothpaste, only use it once or twice a week alongside your fluoride toothpaste"

4. Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly

woman pointing at her big smile and clean teethRegular dental check ups will help keep your teeth healthy. Credit: Deagreez

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 dental check ups and cleans to ensure your teeth remain healthy.

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