If you open almost any social media app, it won’t be long before you see a video about a cleaning hack or some innovative new product. Whether it’s for cleaning your car or meal prep these videos are everywhere. There are even some for dental hygiene. Unfortunately, many of these videos do not fully show how these products can affect your teeth, gums, or overall mouth health. Generally, you should speak with your doctor before trying these for yourself. Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good.

Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal toothpaste makes for some eye-catching posts with exaggerated images of black toothpaste coating the teeth and lips. It is supposed to absorb and remove toxins, while whitening teeth and reducing bad breath. However, charcoal toothpaste is incredibly abrasive, and can end up damaging your teeth. This can cause teeth to yellow or become more sensitive. Additionally, charcoal toothpaste may not have fluoride in it. Fluoride is vital for strengthening tooth enamel. Charcoal particles can also get caught in microcracks in the teeth, leading to dark staining. Lastly, research on charcoal as a whitening agent is still relatively small. Dentists do not fully understand its impact on veneers, bridges, crowns, and other restorative treatments.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Products

Whitening strips and other OTC products may seem like an easy buy. Use as directed, whiten your teeth, right? Unfortunately, these products are not for everyone. Generally, these can sometimes be good for individuals with healthy mouths to brighten their teeth a little bit. However, they can have detrimental effects on those with dental issues. Cavities, gum recession, fillings, crowns, and more can be a bad mix with these products. At best, you may experience some pain. At worst, real, lasting damage.

Adjusting Dental Appliances Yourself

Dental appliances such as retainers and braces are meant to be adjusted as your teeth need them. However, adjusting them yourself is never a good idea. When you bend, twist, or try to self adjust a dental appliance, you may end up damaging the device, or severely affecting your teeth. Often, these DIY adjustments can cause damage that costs far more to fix than your average checkup/adjustment appointment.

At-Home or Online Teeth Straightening Products

Direct-to-consumer clear aligner products may seem convenient and inexpensive, but you should definitely consult your dentist first, Generally, your teeth need to be strong enough to handle the aligners. But the bones holding your teeth in also need to be strong. Without the right amount of tooth and bone strength, you may end up doing more harm than good. Some examples may be breaking teeth, the need for a root canal, loose teeth, or even tooth loss. These products can be helpful for some, but they are definitely not for all consumers. Discuss with your doctor your options. They may be able to recommend if these are right for you, or if there are better alternatives for you.

Store-Bought Grinding or Snoring Guards

Many stores carry soft-bite guards meant to reduce tooth grinding or snoring while sleeping. However, these usually require you to bite down to hold them in place. Holding a bite throughout the night can cause damage to the jaw, jaw joints, and teeth. When you use any non-custom sleep appliance, there can be issues. When it comes to anti-snoring products, you may also have breathing issues. Overall, anything that goes in your mouth while sleeping should be custom fit for your needs and provided by a healthcare professional.

Listening to any Non-Professional Online Advice

The internet can provide a lot of useful information at your fingertips. However, there can be a lot of false or misleading information out there too. There is no regulating body for checking all of the content on the internet. As such, be mindful of where your sources come from, and be sure to fact-check from reliable sources, such as the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO). YOu can also check with a trained medical professional, such as your dentist, orthodontist, or primary care physician.

A Center for Dental Excellence does not provide medical or healthcare advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
A Center for Dental Excellence provides expert dental care to the Brooklyn and Staten Island communities we serve. To schedule an appointment or consultation, contact us or call the office you would like to visit. (718) 232-8289 for Brooklyn, and (718) 980-9555 for Staten Island.