Ever wondered what products dentists would never use on their own teeth? From organic toothpaste to at-home teeth whitening kits, Dr Peta Leigh from elleven Dental reveals 5 products she would avoid using on her own teeth
Brighter, healthier teeth make for a happier, more confident you, and with Instagram full of Hollywood worthy smiles, the want for whiter, shinier teeth continues to grow.
With this demand comes a plethora of products and treatments promising to give you that perfect teeth glow up, however many of these can be detrimental to the health of your pearly whites.
Product #1 Organic Toothpaste
All toothpastes are not equal. Many don’t stop to think about the whole role of toothpaste in your brushing regime.
Firstly it acts as a lubricant to aid manual cleaning and the detergent action helps with food and plaque removal. Secondly the minerals in the toothpaste (Fluoride and Calcium) absorb topically into tooth surfaces, repairing demineralised enamel and improving the integrity of the outer surface.
Organic toothpastes lack fluoride and calcium so for me only do half the job and I would never recommend or use them. There are many SLS free, plastic free great tasting toothpastes out there now and if you want to avoid Fluoride, go for Calcium based toothpastes.
Product #2 DIY UV Whitening at home
These DIY kits can be bought online or over the counter and claim to be safe and essentially fool proof. Unfortunately, research and experience has shown they can lead to mouth infections, gingival trauma, soft tissue burns and toothache if used incorrectly.
If the whitening agent is not applied evenly it is likely that the results will be patchy with white spots.
If you are going to try something like this it is better to use a professional home whitening kit supervised and provided by your dentist. They can provide you with highly effective products that are safe and well supported by research.
Product #3 Water flossing devices
They sound great, they are more fun and many allow you to combine this with mouthwash. But there is no comparison to the results from using floss or interdental brushes.
Interdental cleaning is essential for a clean mouth. Tooth brushes cannot access the interproximal (in between teeth) and subgingival (under the gum line) areas to the same degree as floss and interdental brushes.
Not utilising these cleaning techniques will result in plaque being left behind and faster calculus build up. Most patients benefit from using floss in the front areas of their mouth and interdental brushes in between the back teeth.
This is because of the morphology of the teeth differs in these areas leaving different size spaces in different parts of the mouth. Water flossers may be useful if you have braces or issues with dexterity, but they tend to just make people lazy.
READ MORE: 7 questions to ask your dentist
Product #4 Coconut Oil
Coconut oil in food is great, but I wouldn’t buy it for the sole purpose of my dental care. With many celebrities endorsing this craze, oil pulling with coconut oil has become increasingly popular.
The technique involves using a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut oil) and swishing this around the mouth. Claims that frequently doing this will reduces toxins in your body by drawing them out of your mouth, are completely unfounded.
Whilst not harmful, there is also no evidence that oral health is improved or that teeth become whiter.
Product #5 Whitening strips
These strips are infused with hydrogen peroxide and activate on contact with teeth and saliva. They can appear to be quite effective, but often result in streaky white patches developing in accordance with the positioning of the whitening strip.
Some whitening strips have a low pH and can be damaging to the enamel and these can make teeth quite sensitive. Most dentists do not recommend whitening strips as a long-term whitening solution. There are safer, more proven techniques available.
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