We try our best to keep our teeth healthy, from brushing and flossing to eating a balanced diet. Doing the right thing for our oral health goes beyond those regular visits to the dentist, and the medical community is becoming increasingly aware of the link between oral and bodily health.
But what happens when the healthy things we do for our bodies aren’t exactly healthy for our smiles? These four health trends have been touted as beneficial, but they could actually be hurting your teeth!
Drinking lemon water, particularly in the morning, has become a popular practice. The idea is that you add the juice of about half a lemon to a glass of water and drink first thing in the morning to rev up digestion, detox the body, and even help with weight loss.
Despite the fact that these claims have little scientific evidence to back them up, there’s another problem with lemon water: it has an extremely low pH of just 2.25, meaning it’s very acidic .
In fact, this pH is even more acidic than most types of soda, which means that lemon water could be eroding your tooth enamel, leading to sensitive teeth and an increased risk for tooth decay.
Oil pulling is another practice that’s gained popularity. An ancient method of pulling toxins out of the oral cavity, this regimen requires that you swish sesame or coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes upon waking every morning.
Not only does the American Dental Association not recommend oil pulling due to lack of evidence, but oil pulling requires that your brush your teeth after spitting the oil out . As we know, tooth enamel is porous and brushing immediately after your teeth come into contact with food isn’t recommended.
Kombucha and Other Fermented Foods
Foods such as kimchi and kombucha are fermented and packed with probiotics, which are beneficial organisms that exist in food. Research is showing that probiotics play a much bigger role in our oral and bodily health than previously thought .
However, as a result of their fermented nature, these foods are also acidic, which can weaken tooth enamel and leave it vulnerable to damage. For example, kimchi, which is fermented vegetables, has a pH of around 4, which is lower than the neutral number of 7 on the pH scale . You can still reap the probiotic benefits of these foods by drinking water after consuming them, and, of course, avoiding brushing your teeth until about one hour after consumption.
You may have seen black toothpaste at the store or advertised. For some people, the charcoal toothpaste trend has been in full swing for a few years now. Charcoal toothpaste is said to remove toxins from the mouth, naturally whiten teeth, and even help sensitive teeth.
Unfortunately, charcoal toothpaste is also known for being extremely abrasive. When used daily, charcoal can actually remove tooth enamel and lead to even more sensitive and discolored teeth . Until more research is done, the efficacy of these products is still in question.
Have you heard of any of these health trends? Use caution when adopting practices without knowing how they can affect your body or your smile. Talking to your professional dentist can help you know what’s safe, and to take the best care of your teeth!