As a Eugene cosmetic dentist, Dr. Rita Feldmanis knows firsthand just how far some patients will go to achieve a brilliantly bright smile. Unfortunately, for some patients that means putting their faith, and the health of their teeth and gums, into some questionable methods advocated by internet celebrities and social media influencers.
If you spend much time watching YouTube videos or track the accounts of certain Instagram influencers, you’ve probably heard of a variety of fads that are advertised to do everything from whiten teeth to boosting your immune system. Unfortunately, many of these fads have little scientific evidence backing up their remarkable claims. Even worse, some may actually cause more harm than do good.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular self-care trends being touted as the next miracle trend online.
A favorite of many online social media darlings, it won’t take long on Instagram or Facebook to hear all about the benefits of adding a slice of lemon to a little hot water. Proponents of this simplified beverage claim it can do everything from boosting immune system function to helping people stay energized throughout the day.
The explanation behind these fantastical claims? Simple, a little lemon in your water helps the body detoxify itself. Unfortunately, the science just doesn’t back up this claim.
Only two things in the body can remove anything we ingest, whether medication, alcohol, or drugs – the liver and kidneys. Beyond these two essential organs, nothing can actually help the body to purge unwanted toxins. That includes lemon water.
Even if a little hot water and lemon sounds like a nice way to break up the afternoon, lemon has an extremely high acidity that can effectively dissolve tooth enamel. By drinking lemon water, you help to throw the mouth’s microbiome off balance, making it tilt more towards the acidic side. The more acidic the mouth, the more damage that occurs to our tooth enamel as a result.
Following this trend doesn’t lead to a healthier body, but worse health for your teeth and gums.
The practice of oil pulling has actually existed for thousands of years, and involves swishing coconut oil around in the mouth for around 20 minutes a day. Proponents of this popular trend claim that habit can help the body detoxify, while also working to treat gum disease and whiten teeth.
Once again, the hype exceeds the science behind what oil pulling can actually provide. While the habit may help to destroy certain types of harmful bacteria that grow in the mouth, no research can support the claim that oil pulling does anything to fight gum disease or help the body cleanse itself of toxins.
However, some research does suggest that oil pulling could help to brighten your smile. So, if you want to practice oil pulling for the benefits of enjoying a brighter, whiter smile, go ahead. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking the habit does much else.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you ask supermodel Miranda Kerr and other proponents of this latest fade, adding a little apple cider vinegar to the water you drink can work miracles helping the body detoxify. But, as we learned from lemon water, that’s simply not the case. Only the liver and kidneys can do that.
However, a failure to understand how the body functions isn’t the only thing drinking apple cider vinegar has in common with lemon water. Apple cider vinegar is also highly acidic and can erode away tooth enamel when frequently consumed.
Just as with lemon water, this trend can actually harm your health more than help.
A favorite trend among YouTube stars, you can find hundreds of videos online of people brushing their teeth with what looks like black toothpaste. These charcoal-based toothpastes are hyped as a way to whiten teeth by removing stains from tooth enamel. Unfortunately, this is just another example of how the hype doesn’t always deliver.
Charcoal toothpastes contain abrasive agents designed to scrub stains off of tooth enamel. However, these same agents can actually end up damaging enamel and irritating gum tissue, leading to the development of gum disease and tooth decay. Making matters even worse, these brands of toothpaste don’t even contain fluoride, which plays a vital role in helping to strengthen tooth enamel.
Unless you want to spend more time visiting a Eugene cosmetic dentist like Dr. Feldmanis, you should consider avoiding these latest crazes and focus more on just brushing and flossing daily to help provide the smile you desire.