TIPS ABOUT DENTAL TRENDS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUR TEETH.
SMILE DIRECT CLUB
The technology used in clear aligners such as Invisalign(R) and Clear Correct(R) have been around since the late 1990’s. In recent years, a new, cheaper “do-it-yourself” version of clear aligners has been released called Smile Direct Club (SDC). With SDC, aligners are sent directly to the consumer to use without direct supervision of a licensed dentist. However, there are many concerns with this form of treatment. One major difference is that these aligners do not employ the use of tooth-colored “attachments” or “buttons” that are placed on some of the teeth (like with Invisalign) to help the aligner grip the tooth and move it more efficiently. Especially in the cases of crowded teeth, dentists will often make minor adjustments (called IPR or Interproximal Reduction) to the teeth to create space needed for proper alignment. Without attachments and IPR, many patients are noticing that their teeth are not moving and aligning to a satisfactory result once treatment is completed. Additionally, it goes without saying that dentists have years of extensive training in conditions of the mouth, such as cavities and gum disease. Without properly treating some of these conditions prior to orthodontic treatment, patients run the risk of worsening these conditions or even suffering from premature tooth loss.
CHARCOAL WHITENING PRODUCTS
You’ve probably seen ads pop on your social media or even in some health food stores carrying these already — products such as toothpastes or fine powder scrubs containing active charcoal that claim to whiten teeth, but are these products safe? Well, because most of these products are relatively new, little research exists to show the long-term effects on teeth. However, we do know that products that are too abrasive on the teeth can wear away the hard, outer layer of teeth called enamel. Excessive abrasion of enamel can lead to irreversible loss of enamel, sensitivity, and actually yellowing of the teeth! To be on the safe side, I tell my patients to stick with safer alternatives to whitening containing carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
COCONUT OIL PULLING
This trend has recently gained popularity, but actually has been a part of Ayuvedic medicine for some time now. Research does show that coconut oil pulling does help fight gingivitis, plaque, and the bacteria that cause bad breath. However, in order to get the full effects of oil pulling, you must swish about 1 tablespoon of oil for about 20 minutes! As a dentist, I see so many patients that struggle to spend even 2 minutes in the bathroom brushing their teeth twice a day. But hey, if you’ve got the discipline to swish for 20 minutes, then it may be a good practice to add to your oral health routine. Keep in mind, once you finish swishing, you still will need to brush and floss your teeth!
By DR. JESSICA WYATT, D.D.S.
Elite Dental & Aesthetics