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Dental Health Fads: How Do You Keep Your Mouth Clean?

Smile With White Teeth
Fads come and go. But oral health is something that's here to stay. Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes is the healthy way to protect your teeth and keep your mouth in top shape. That is, along with regular flossing and routine check-ups/cleaning from a dental professional.
But what about everything else? From supplements to charcoal toothpastes, the dental fads are just about everywhere and include just about everything. Before you buy into the latest and supposedly greatest way to clean your teeth, take a look at how some of the newest (and most popular) dental fads stack up to traditional treatments.

Charcoal Toothpaste

Forget about the fresh mint flecks of blue in your ultrawhite toothpaste. This one looks like what you'd expect from a product with the word "charcoal" in the name. The idea behind activated charcoal toothpaste is that it's a natural alternative to man-made products.
How does charcoal toothpaste work? It is supposed to attach itself to the bacteria, buildup, debris and random microorganisms in your mouth. It then grabs these and lifts them away, leaving you with a whiter, brighter, fresher smile - or not.
Charcoal pastes can't do the same job as standard fluoride toothpastes or whitening pastes. They aren't likely to actually whiten or brighten your smile and may end up scratching the enamel.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another so-called natural alternative to chemical-filled toothpastes. When combined with baking soda, some people believe that this citrus fruit can whiten teeth and keep them clean.
Lemony-fresh breath sounds pretty good. Right? But the science doesn't back up the claims that this combo is an effective dental helper. Long-term use of lemon juice as part of a dental regimen may have the opposite effect, eating away at the enamel of your teeth. That's where baking soda supposedly comes in.
Combining baking soda with the acidic lemon juice is supposed to neutralize the pH, making it less likely to harm your teeth. But unless you're a chemist, it's not likely that you'll combine the two in the exact ratio needed to mellow out the acidic reaction on your enamel.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

This pick is a dental fad that's made its way into the mainstream. Take a look at the toothpaste aisle. Chances are that you'll find more than a few pastes that include these ingredients.
If traditional pastes may already include hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, should you even both with the actual ingredients?
Hydrogen peroxide is an ingredient found in many whitening products. Even though commercial whiteners work, and often work well, hydrogen peroxide can cause dental damage. Like some of the other so-called natural products, hydrogen peroxide can eat away at enamel.
On its own or in another toothpaste product, baking soda can do some truly impressive things for your mouth. This includes reducing the number of microorganisms in the mouth, neutralizing plaque acids and reducing the number dental caries that you're at risk for.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a major fad that's been just about everywhere. This chunky oil has made its way from the kitchen to the bathroom - as a toothpaste ingredient.
This isn't the first time that an oil has turned into a dental fad. Oil pulling, or rinsing with oil, is an ancient remedy that supposedly whitens teeth and adds to a healthy mouth. Along with taking more time than you probably have (you need to swish the oil around for anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes), the scientific evidence doesn't back up the 'good for you' claims, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Likewise, coconut oil (or coconut oil toothpastes) probably won't do much to keep your mouth clean. You'll need a fluoride-containing toothpaste for that.
Along with brushing, dental checkups are part of a healthy mouth routine. Do you need a new dentist? Contact AICO's Dental Group for more information.