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Beware the beauty trends that can wreck your teeth! From apple cider vinegar shots to wasabi toothpaste and clip-on veneers, dentists warn by trying to make our smiles whiter we could be doing serious damage

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 24/3/2019 Rachel Carlyle For The Daily Mail

Woman holding a black tooth paste with active charcoal © Getty Woman holding a black tooth paste with active charcoal Rubbing teeth with charcoal, swishing with coconut oil and wearing clip-on veneers — we do some pretty strange things in the name of beauty.

But dentists warn that by trying to make our smiles ever whiter and more gleaming, we could be doing serious and irreversible damage to our teeth.

'Some trends sound natural, but can have bad consequences for teeth,' says dentist Dr Richard Marques, from Wimpole Street Dental in London.

'We're all more aware of our teeth and our smiles now because of selfie culture. It makes us very self-critical, which can lead us to try out some risky things.' Here are the dangerous fads your dentist wants you to avoid…

Rubbing teeth with charcoal, swishing with coconut oil and wearing clip-on veneers — we do some pretty strange things in the name of beauty © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rubbing teeth with charcoal, swishing with coconut oil and wearing clip-on veneers — we do some pretty strange things in the name of beauty

TRENDY, TASTY TOOTHPASTES

Beloved of the clean-eating, organic, all-natural brigade, 'boutique' toothpastes are on the rise in the UK — with weird and wonderful flavours ranging from cardamom and aloe vera to fennel and wasabi.

Some use fluoride to protect against decay, but most are fluoride-free. The British Dental Association (BDA) recommends everyone over six uses a toothpaste with 1,350-1,500 parts per million of fluoride.

What's the problem? 'If you eat sugar and a Western diet, you need fluoride in your toothpaste,' says Dr Marques. 'I saw a patient who'd switched to herbal toothpaste and she had developed a large cavity plus damage to two other teeth, despite having had perfectly healthy teeth before.'

Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific adviser to the BDA, adds: 'It's not that herbal toothpastes are dangerous, but they are not going to do anything desperately good, either. Fluoride creates strong teeth and stops bacteria turning sugar into acid and attacking the teeth.'

Use only a pea-sized amount, he advises, and don't rinse after brushing so the fluoride stays in contact with the teeth.

WHITENING KITS WITH BLEACH

Teeth whitening kit © Getty Teeth whitening kit These are bleaching gels which you syringe into a 'mouth tray'. This presses the gel against the teeth, usually for 10-30 minutes — and bleaches them. But many contain so much hydrogen peroxide that they're illegal.

The maximum concentration of hydrogen peroxide allowed in a consumer whitening product in the UK is 0.1 per cent; dentists are allowed 6 per cent.

Most are sold by the percentage of carbamide peroxide (CP) they contain. CP contains hydrogen peroxide at a ratio of 1:3. So a gel labelled '35 per cent CP' has about 11.7 per cent hydrogen peroxide — nearly twice the legal level for dentists.

These are bleaching gels which you syringe into a 'mouth tray'. This presses the gel against the teeth, usually for 10-30 minutes — and bleaches them (stock image) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited These are bleaching gels which you syringe into a 'mouth tray'. This presses the gel against the teeth, usually for 10-30 minutes — and bleaches them (stock image)

What's the problem? 'I have seen patients using these types of products who have not only dissolved their enamel, but burned away their gums so severely they need surgery.

'This involves taking tissue from the palate and transplanting it,' says cosmetic dentist Dr Uchenna Okoye, from London Smiling. 'If you're buying online you can't be sure what percentage the products are. Some even have chlorine dioxide in them, which is illegal.'

CUSTOM-MADE CLIP-ON SMILE

Patient selecting tooth veneers © Getty Patient selecting tooth veneers No, not fake Dracula teeth, but custom-made veneers you clip over your teeth to give you a whiter smile. They're popular with the Instagram crowd: you can't eat, drink or even really speak while wearing them, but your snap-on smile can give an instant lift in pictures.

What's the problem? Apart from the possible comedy value, clip-on veneers can damage teeth, says Dr Marques.

'They can cause decay because food gets trapped underneath, and plaque and bacteria are held against the teeth as you wear them. Teeth can be damaged even if you only wear them for an hour, as teeth are deprived of the cleansing action of saliva.'

If you must wear them, brush your teeth first.

Gallery: 10 signs you might have a vitamin C deficiency, according to an expert(INSIDER)



SWISHING WITH AYURVEDIC OILS

The ancient Indian Ayurvedic technique of swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes and 'pulling' it between your teeth is popular with wellness types.

Warmed coconut oil is the most common, but sesame and sunflower oils are also used. It's supposed to clean and whiten teeth and prevent the build-up of plaque. Traditional texts even claim it can cure sore throats.

Charcoal is really abrasive — it can scratch away the enamel on your teeth © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Charcoal is really abrasive — it can scratch away the enamel on your teeth

What's the problem? There's not much evidence it works, and one study linked repeated sesame oil-pulling with a rare form of pneumonia, because oil was breathed into the lungs.

Dr Marques believes the practice can help remove plaque by stopping it sticking to teeth, but a fluoride-based mouthwash would do the job better.

'If you want a natural product I'd advise using a teaspoon of salt in a mug of boiled water, which is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory,' he says.

RUBBING ON CHARCOAL PASTE

Black tooth paste with active charcoal © Getty Black tooth paste with active charcoal It's possibly the strangest dental trend of recent times, but rubbing charcoal paste over your teeth is supposed to leave them gleaming white.

Celebrities including singer Nicole Scherzinger swear by it, and the number of polishes and toothpastes made with 'activated charcoal' has risen. Charcoal is traditionally thought to remove toxins and lift stains by binding them to its porous surface.

What's the problem? 'Charcoal is really abrasive — it can scratch away the enamel on your teeth. The dentine underneath is softer and more yellow, so if it's exposed, not only will your teeth be more sensitive, they will also be less white,' says Dr Okoye.

'You only have one lot of enamel — once it's gone it does not grow back.'

A review at the University of Maryland in 2017 found no decent evidence supporting charcoal, prompting the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) to issue a warning.

'We believe shoppers may be being misled as much of the time the celebrity [promoting it] has had professional tooth whitening and their white smiles are not a direct result of using the product,' said OHF chief executive Dr Nigel Carter. If you must use charcoal, Dr Okoye advises you do so only once a month. Use your finger, not a brush, and rub gently.

STARS' FAVOURITE VINEGAR BREW

Apple vinegar © Getty Apple vinegar Pop star Katy Perry's favourite little miracle drink, apple cider vinegar, tossed back before breakfast once a day, is supposed to suppress appetite so you can lose weight, improve skin tone and lower cholesterol.
What's the problem? One word: acid. Most apple cider vinegars have a pH of around 3 — not as acidic as lemon juice, but acidic enough to erode enamel.

'The problem is that it tastes so horrible that people want to brush their teeth afterwards, but this is the worst thing you can do,' says Dr Okoye.

'The acid has softened the enamel, so if you then brush you're brushing your enamel away.' Wait an hour to brush after any acidic drink.
an apple sitting on top of a table: Most apple cider vinegars have a pH of around 3 — not as acidic as lemon juice, but acidic enough to erode enamel © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Most apple cider vinegars have a pH of around 3 — not as acidic as lemon juice, but acidic enough to erode enamel

STRIPS: BANNED IN THE UK

The U.S. allows stronger concentrations of bleach than the UK does, so it's tempting to bring home a supply of DIY whitening strips after a holiday.

You stick the hydrogen peroxide gel strips to your teeth for a certain time, then peel them off. The most popular brand has 10-14 per cent hydrogen peroxide — way above the 0.1 per cent allowed for UK consumers.

What's the problem? They're illegal here, for a start, says Dr Marques. 'Some of the strips are 20 per cent plus, which wear out enamel, burn gums and damage other soft tissues if the gel leaks out and is ingested.

'People also get addicted to using them, and want whiter and whiter teeth. But they cause irreversible damage to their teeth.'

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