When it comes to health trends, humans are always fast to jump on the bandwagon. We are less likely to exercise daily and eat a balanced diet of nutritious foods than we are to follow a gimmicky diet—backed by very little scientific evidence—to lose weight. Likewise, when it comes to healthy teeth (and healthy gums), the majority of people are less likely to follow a reasonable routine of brushing and flossing twice daily and, instead, opt for oral hygiene gimmicks that may seem “cool,” but can, in fact, do more harm than good.
Of course, not all new oral hygiene products or tooth whiteners are useless. The dental hygiene industry is constantly evolving, and significant advances are made often. Knowing how to differentiate between products that truly are cutting edge—and those that should be cut from your shopping cart—is key.
Here are the top three oral hygiene gimmicks to avoid:
1. Activated charcoal. This ingredient has gained massive popularity in the beauty industry, and can be found in everything from face scrubs to—you guessed it—tooth whiteners. However, activated charcoal can actually stain and damage your enamel…the opposite of what it is being advertised to do! Watch out for oral hygiene products containing activated charcoal, or any other “amazing” ingredient, for that matter. Do your research and get the facts before falling for an ingredient-based gimmick.
2. Expensive oral healthcare products or tools. Achieving healthy teeth is very simple: brush and floss twice daily, and see your dentist for a cleaning every 6-months. Do you need an electric toothbrush? They can be helpful, but they don’t accomplish any more than a regular toothbrush in the hands of a skilled tooth brusher. Likewise, research has shown most mouthwashes to be only minimally effective, and probiotics and supplements do very little to contribute to healthy gums. Yes, there are instances where an individual may benefit from the use of a specialized oral healthcare product or tool, but that brings us to our next point…
3. Don’t Google your way to healthy teeth! The best way to get a recommendation for tooth whiteners, or to understand which products you truly need to maintain healthy gums and teeth is by asking your dentist. Your dentist eats, sleeps, and breathes oral hygiene, so if anyone can help guide you away from gimmicks, it’s them.
Remember, oral hygiene is simple. Brush your teeth. Floss. Visit your dentist every 6 months. If you follow those three steps, your oral health will never get too far off track. If you have an oral health concern, rather than prescribing your own treatment plan, talk to your dentist. At Temple Family Dentistry, we are always happy to help our patients understand their oral health, or otherwise assuage their concerns.