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Wellness Trends and Your Teeth

With the new year upon us, the internet and social media are buzzing with wellness trends guaranteed to make 2020 your healthiest year yet. From workouts, to supplements, to diets, it is clear that the wellness industry is booming. Here at Metropolitan Dental Care, we are all about wellness for mind, body, and of course, your teeth! Here, we’ll talk about some of the most popular dental wellness trends and how they may impact your teeth. 

Activated Charcoal 

Activated charcoal is a special form of charcoal that is treated at high temperatures in order to make it more porous. More pores means more surface area, making this form of charcoal ideal for attracting toxins and stains. It has been used for years in medicine as a treatment for drug overdoses and as an anti-poison agent. 

Charcoal toothpaste is one of the most talked about wellness trends in dentistry. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner are promoting charcoal toothpaste brands and there are advertisements everywhere. Most of these products tout their ability to function as both a detoxifier for your gums and a whitener for your teeth. However, there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim. 

In fact, charcoal toothpaste may be doing more harm than good, especially as a whitening agent. Teeth are made up of a white outer layer called enamel and a yellow inner layer called dentin. Charcoal is an abrasive substance that may initially appear to whiten your teeth, but over time it can erode healthy white enamel and actually lead to permanent yellowing of your teeth. This can also lead to damage to your gums. Additionally, these toothpastes are often formulated without fluoride, a key ingredient for cavity prevention (see below!). 

Oil Pulling 

Oil pulling is an ancient Indian technique that involves swishing oil (most commonly coconut oil) for 20 minutes in the morning on an empty stomach. It has been touted as a way to whiten teeth, detoxify the oral cavity, and treat gingivitis. Some authors go as far as to claim that oil pulling can treat things like asthma, migraines, and diabetes. 

In terms of uses in the oral cavity, there is limited evidence to suggest that oil pulling is beneficial for the treatment of oral disease. It certainly cannot replace traditional dental hygiene practices and regular visits to the dentist. That being said, coconut oil, especially, has anti-inflammatory properties and has been anecdotally shown to help treat canker sores.

Non-Toxic Toothpaste 

Buzz words like “organic” and “all-natural” are EVERYWHERE. It would be impossible to walk down the grocery store aisle without seeing these phrases plastered on every label. Here at Metropolitan Dental Care, we are all about organic and natural products. However, a lot of these toothpastes leave out a key NATURAL ingredient, fluoride! Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many rivers, lakes, and oceans. Fluoride has been added to our water sources for over 70 years and has prevented tooth decay by 25% according to the ADA. Cavities form a result of acids produced by bacteria breaking down the enamel surface of our teeth. Fluoride helps to reverse this breakdown and strengthens our teeth to prevent it in the first place. Using a toothpaste without fluoride could be putting you at unnecessary risk for cavities. We have no problem with natural toothpastes, but make sure fluoride is one of the ingredients! 

With the wellness industry continuing to grow, we can only expect more and more trendy oral care treatments. If you are considering adding something to your oral care routine, discuss it with your dentist first. We are always happy to answer all of your wellness related questions!

Dr. Lauren Liebman

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