‘Alternative’ Dental Care

Why our Bedford patients should be wary of any DIY or ‘natural remedy’ claims!

Dentist in a surgeryWe have all seen, on the news, about the anti vaccination movement and how misinformation has spread, largely via social media. Whilst this format has its benefits in that friends who live long distances away can communicate easily and various interest groups can come together to discuss their chosen topic, it also allows misinformation to spread easily and without checks and balances in place in most cases.

Although this has been highlighted during the Covid crisis, dental care has not escaped this either. Whether this is from those advocating ‘natural’ dental care or those offering tips on how to whiten your teeth cheaply and naturally. Unsurprisingly, anyone following this advice, runs a serious risk of harm to their teeth.

In today’s blog, The Dental Centre Bedford takes a look at some examples that we have seen online, and explain why they are usually not a good idea.

Fluoride free toothpaste

This is one that has been around for a long time. One of the main arguments is that fluoride can be harmful if too much is absorbed into the body. There is some truth in this in the sense that if we eat too much of anything, it can be harmful. The reality though is that this risk is very low if advice and common sense are followed. Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride will not harm your teeth and indeed, it is extremely beneficial to them. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel of your teeth and helps to prevent them from wearing down or cracking under normal use. Any compromise of the enamel is likely to lead to tooth decay, along with the often accompanying toothache.

‘Natural ‘ teeth whitening

This is one of the most common ‘alternative’ dental remedies that you are likely to find online. There are several suggestions which include the potentially dangerous use of hydrogen peroxide. Whilst this is used in our customised teeth whitening treatment, it is done so with professional supervision which ensures its safe use. Using this to whiten your teeth yourself is asking for trouble and burning to the soft tissue such as gum and lips is not uncommon. You could also suffer from long term and painful tooth sensitivity. If you want to have your teeth whitened, both safely and effectively, please talk to one of our Bedford dentists about it who will be able to recommend the best method for your own situation.

DIY dental braces

This is perhaps one of the strangest ‘alternatives’ that we have come across. It is quite mind boggling to think that someone actually came up with the idea that you could straighten your teeth at home using a series of rubber bands. Not only does this look complicated to apply, it must be uncomfortable too. Most obviously though, it won’t work and you are far more likely to end up with your teeth even more crooked than they were before you started. Please don’t do this, and if you want to have your teeth straightened, we have a range of orthodontics, such as Invisalign, that can straighten your teeth safely, discreetly and comfortably.

Tooth filing

This particular ‘dental hack’ recently exploded on TikTok, a popular social media outlet which is widely used by younger people. There is currently a lot of pressure on this generation to have a perfect smile. Much can now be done through the use of cosmetic dentistry, but to file down teeth in order to make them appear even and symmetrical is a very harmful and stupid thing to do. It is possible that some people think that their teeth are like their fingernails and can be treated as such, but a tooth is a complex part of our body and contains many components, the inner ones of which, including the nerves, are protected by the hard enamel exterior.

Any filing down of the teeth is almost certain to damage this enamel and may well expose the underlying dentin layer. Once this is exposed, the risk of tooth sensitivity,  decay and toothache are greatly increased. If you really are concerned about how your teeth look, please put down that file and contact us today for a consultation. Our friendly dental team have years of experience and, following an examination, will be able to guide you towards the right treatment to give you a great looking smile.

These are some of the more common and recent ‘tips’ that we have seen on social media. As you can see, a lot can, and is likely to, go wrong if you attempt any of these. Please always take professional advice to ensure that any treatment you undergo is done safely and effectively. If you would like more advice on your oral care, whether general or cosmetic, please call The Dental Centre Bedford for an appointment on 01234 819868.