Oral hygiene is important and this is why it's crucial that the right messages are communicated.
Unfortunately, a handful of trends have emerged on social media sites such as Tiktok, making it difficult to understand what is safe and what is not.
From home whitening kits to chewing gum, oral health brand Dentek debunked some of the top dental myths around:
1. Home teeth whitening is safe
FALSE – teeth whitening must always be carried out by a qualified and registered dental professional. If administered by anybody else, including yourself, you risk causing more harm than good. Often, kits bought online contain illegal levels of hydrogen peroxide, which is highly dangerous when incorrectly used. By stripping back enamel, for example, it can lead to tooth sensitivity and, ironically, yellow teeth. This is down to bleaching agent exposing the dentine.
2. Gum is good
TRUE – chewing gum can actually benefit your oral health – but it needs to be the right kind. Sugar-free gum, for example, can help to prevent tooth decay and encourage better saliva production. In turn, this washes away destructive acids that form in the mouth after eating food or drinking.
Watch out for those chewing gums that contain high sugar levels, as they will have the opposite effect on your oral health.
3. Charcoal toothpaste helps to whiten teeth
FALSE – currently there is very little evidence to support this. What it might do is remove and prevent stains which, in the short term, can help your teeth to look whiter. However prolonged use can ultimately wear down the enamel and, as mentioned earlier, make your teeth appear yellow.
4. Flossing can widen gaps in your teeth
FALSE – flossing will absolutely not widen the gaps in your teeth. The correct technique not only doesn't do this, it also removes food from the parts of your mouth that a toothbrush cannot achieve alone. If you are unsure about the correct way to floss, why not talk to your dentist or hygienist?
5. Green tea doesn't stain your teeth
FALSE – while it carries many health benefits, it unfortunately can lead to discolouration of your teeth. Green tea contains tannins, organic substances that can stain teeth if they are regularly consumed. The same applies to black and herbal teas too.