From charcoal toothpaste to lemon water, the internet is awash with advice on how best to keep your pearly whites looking their best – but if you follow some of this guidance you could end up damaging them instead
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We all know social media loves peddling health and wellness advice – but some dental guidance out there is so worryingly wide of the mark that following it could do more harm than good.
Thankfully, one expert is keen to debunk such unhelpful internet myths, advising people to steer well clear of them if they want to keep their teeth healthy.
Dr Khaled Kasem, chief orthodontist at orthodontic chain Impress, said it can be difficult separating fantasy from fiction when so many suspicious theories are often presented as fact.
Here are his top five worst bits of advice he has recently seen on the web:
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You’ve probably seen charcoal toothpaste heralded as the ultimate tooth-whitener, but don’t be fooled, Dr Kasem told The Sun.
“Charcoal toothpaste does lift a light surface of staining, giving your teeth a temporary glow, however it can be abrasive and damage the enamel on your teeth.
“If the particles become embedded in the cracks of your enamel, it can cause your teeth to crack and may result in an expensive trip to the dentist – not ideal when you’re searching for that Hollywood smile.”
As a simple alternative, he recommended treating your gnashers to a standard whitening toothpaste.
“If you’re hoping to achieve a permanently brighter, white smile, it’s best to consult a dental professional as not only will it be much more effective, but it will also be safer, too,” he said.
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Who hasn’t seen those TikTok videos extolling the virtues of drinking humble lemon water?
Yes it can indeed help to hydrate, is a good source of vitamin C and aid digestion and support skin health – but at what cost?
Dr Kasem said that drinking too much could actually damage your teeth.
“Lemon juice is very acidic and can erode enamel, making your teeth susceptible to gum disease and decay over time,” he said.
“Therefore, if it is one of your daily rituals, it’s best to drink it through a straw to help protect your teeth. If you’re showing any signs of mouth sores, steer clear of it all together, as the acidity can cause irritation and inflammation,” he added.
Apple cider vinegar
Some influencers are forever perpetuating that apple cider vinegar is great for detoxing and weight-loss, but consuming a lot of it can upset your stomach and throat, not to mention wrecking your teeth, says Dr Kasem.
Just like lemon water, the high acidity can erode tooth enamel.
“Without this protective layer, your teeth are open to the dangers of decay and permanent staining.
“Before trying apple cider vinegar, consider whether it’s worth jeopardizing the colour, and overall health, of your teeth,” he added.
eating s smaller meals, more often
Many of us have taken to eating smaller meals more often, but have we ever considered this could be unkind to our teeth?
Dr Kasem says these smaller gaps between eating gives your mouth less time to break down the foods you’ve just eaten.
This then paves the way for bacteria and acid to build-up on your teeth and gums.
“We’d always recommend eating three meals a day where possible, brushing once after breakfast and once after your evening meal, because eating little and often without a substantial break and clean, increases your chances of developing tooth decay and even gum disease,” he added.
‘Eating clean’ is something of a buzz phrase at the moment, with ‘juice cleanses’ – a diet that involves consuming only juices from vegetables and fruits – often touted as being highly beneficial to us.
While Dr Kasem says such a regime is, of course, helpful to getting your five-a-day, it could also be harming your mouth.
“Drinking juice directly allows sugar to build up and get stuck in the crevices of your teeth.
“Overexposure to juicing can lead to complications such as cavities, crumbling molars, and even tooth decay, so if you’re wanting to try juicing, make sure to do it as part of a balanced diet between solids and liquids,” he said.