Nothing to smile about! Dentist warns these nine health trends could WRECK your teeth

Nothing to smile about! Dentist warns these nine health trends could WRECK your teeth

A dentist has warned that thousands of Brits could be unwittingly wrecking their teeth by following trendy wellness fads.

Apple cider vinegar shots and dairy-free milk are among a raft of products promising lifestyle or health benefits, with the UK health and wellness industry worth some £20billion. 

But Dr Deepak Aulak warns some popular trends, often promoted on social media, could be damaging to teeth and gums.

The founder of AI-powered dental app Toothfairy and This Morning regular, said: ‘A healthy diet is not just important for the body and brain, but also for your oral health.

‘You may be hoping to lose a few pounds or improve your skin, you may of course just prefer the taste, but you’re unlikely to feel good about yourself if your smile suffers as a result. 

Nothing to smile about! Dentist warns these nine health trends could WRECK your teeth

Dr Deepak Aulak warns some popular trends, often promoted on social media, could be damaging to teeth and gums

‘Foods and drinks that are high in acid or sugar can wreak havoc in your mouth, and the best advice as always is maintaining good oral hygiene.  

‘If you’re ever unsure about the risks certain foods and drinks pose to your teeth, be sure to ask your dentist for their advice’. 

Here are the nine health trends that Dr Deepak warns could be damaging to your teeth. 

Coconut oil pulling

Originating in ancient India some 3,000 years ago, swilling a tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil around the mouth for 20 minutes claims to both clean and whiten teeth.

The concept of the Ayurvedic pastime is to wash away bacteria in the mouth, and some claim that it can help ward off gingivitis, bad breath and oral thrush.

Dr Deepak warns: ‘Despite the claims, this process will not whiten your teeth, though it may remove some stains, but you’re just as likely to achieve that by swilling water in your mouth.

‘If you really have 20 minutes to spare, I would suggest spending a further few minutes brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste afterwards. Or better yet, do that instead.’

Herbal teas

Green tea and other varieties of herbal hot drinks are often promoted for a raft of health-enhancing qualities

Green tea and other varieties of herbal hot drinks are often promoted for a raft of health-enhancing qualities.

Claims range from preventing cancer, to boosting brain function and improving metabolism due to the presence of antioxidants that prevent cell damage.

Commenting on drinking herbal teas, the dental expert said: ‘While I’m certainly partial to a mug of green tea, I will always have a good rinse with fresh water afterwards.

‘Various types of tea contain tannins, which will stain your teeth and gums in the long run.’

Fruit smoothies and teas 

While there are questions over the health benefits to your body from whizzing the fibre out of the fruit in a blender, there are also risks to your teeth and gums

While there are questions over the health benefits to your body from whizzing the fibre out of the fruit in a blender, there are also risks to your teeth and gums

Fruit is one in your recommended ‘five a day’ because it is packed with vitamins, nutrients and fibre. 

However it is not so great for your teeth when blended into a drink.

Smoothies and juices are promoted as healthy alternative across the country, and there are dozens of kitchenware products available for them to be made at home.

While there are questions over the health benefits to your body from whizzing the fibre out of the fruit in a blender, there are also risks to your teeth and gums.

Dr Deepak advised: ‘When you eat an apple, you’re having a single piece of fruit full of natural sugar, but as you’ll know, no smoothie or juice contains just one apple.

‘So, when you drink a fruit juice, you’re having three or four apples’ worth of sugar and acid, which attacks the enamel of your teeth.

‘The best ways to enjoy a fruit juice or smoothie would be to combine it with a meal, so your saliva helps neutralise the acids and breakdown the sugars.

‘If you’re on the go, consider drinking the juice with a straw, so it bypasses your teeth’.

Kombucha

The bacteria in the drink create acidity that can damage tooth enamel, and also help any bad bacteria already in your mouth to grow

The bacteria in the drink create acidity that can damage tooth enamel, and also help any bad bacteria already in your mouth to grow

Kombucha is a drink packed with probiotics, which good for gut health, and made by fermenting sweet tea with bacteria and yeast. 

However, the bacteria in the drink create acidity that can damage tooth enamel, and also help any bad bacteria already in your mouth to grow.

Dr Deepak added: ‘As well as staining your teeth, Kombucha can turn your mouth into a bad bacteria breeding ground.

‘To prevent damaging your teeth and gums, I’d advise drinking with a straw – and certainly consider asking your dentist for advice on this one.’

Non-dairy milk and substitutes 

Whether for ethical, health or taste reasons, drinking milk alternatives may mean you are reducing your calcium intake, which could lead to problems for your teeth

Whether for ethical, health or taste reasons, drinking milk alternatives may mean you are reducing your calcium intake, which could lead to problems for your teeth

There has been an explosion in dairy-free milk alternatives over the last two decades, from soya to oat and hazelnut.

Whether for ethical, health or taste reasons, drinking milk alternatives may mean you are reducing your calcium intake, which could lead to problems for your teeth.

The dentist stated: ‘Dairy milk is one of the best sources of calcium you can get and while plant-based alternatives won’t damage your teeth, you are depriving yourself of an easy source of calcium.’

Lemon water

Lemon water can be a good way to aid digestion, and take in some extra vitamins and minerals, but contains enamel-wrecking acid

Lemon water can be a good way to aid digestion, and take in some extra vitamins and minerals, but contains enamel-wrecking acid

Lemon water can be a good way to aid digestion, and take in some extra vitamins and minerals, but contains enamel-wrecking acid.

Dr Deepak said: ‘Lemon water is a great way to start the day, I find it can really lift me up in the morning, but the acid will eat away at the protective layer of your teeth.

‘Simple trick is to swill your mouth with fresh water after you’ve finished, then if you can, brush your teeth for good measure’.

‘Wellness’ shots

Another recent explosion in the market are small shots of fruit or vegetables promising a quick health kick – but they are not without their risks to teeth.

Dr Deepak said: ‘Similar to juices, these shots of concentrated fruit or veg may offer some health benefits, but there they also pose a risk to your teeth.

‘The very size of the shots suggests they are meant for people ‘on the go’, and this might mean you have all that acid and sugar in your mouth throughout the day.

‘The fruit shots contain sugars and acid, while other varieties like turmeric and ginger can stain your teeth.

‘My advice would be to drink some water straight afterwards, or as soon as you get to the office’.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are a healthy alternative to sweets and crisps when it comes to snacking ¿ but their high levels of sugar can damage teeth

Dried fruits are a healthy alternative to sweets and crisps when it comes to snacking – but their high levels of sugar can damage teeth

Dried fruits are a healthy alternative to sweets and crisps when it comes to snacking – but their high levels of sugar can damage teeth.

Dr Deepak said: ‘The problem with dried fruit is that is both high in sugar and very sticky, which is a nasty combination for your teeth.

‘The gooey treats will glue themselves around your teeth, meaning all that sugar is eating away at the enamel.

‘Some cereals contain dried fruits, so if you’re eating breakfast at home, it would be worth having another brush before you leave for work.

‘If you have breakfast at work, or you’re snacking on dried fruit throughout the day, consider taking a toothbrush and toothpaste to work – because no amount of swilling will rid your mouth of those sticky remnants entirely.’

Apple cider vinegar shots 

Wellness writers and influencers have long promoted the health benefits of downing a shot of apple cider vinegar

Wellness writers and influencers have long promoted the health benefits of downing a shot of apple cider vinegar

Wellness writers and influencers have long promoted the health benefits of downing a shot of apple cider vinegar.

Supposed benefits range from weight loss to maintaining blood sugar levels, and it is also suggested as a way to remove stains from teeth.

But while many health benefits are played up, the more negative effects on oral health are sometimes ignored, namely that vinegar is very high in acid, which damages enamel.

Dr Deepak said: ‘Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, and far from removing stains from teeth it can actually fuel discolouration, as well as promote cavities and tooth sensitivity.

‘Rince your mouth out with fresh water after taking a shot, would be my advice.’

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