It can seem like there are a million different options when it comes to taking care of your teeth. From the brand of toothpaste you use to the size of the floss, the decisions can be overwhelming. Dental products boast their use of chemicals, add-ins, and flavors, but without a degree in dentistry, how are you supposed to know what is best for your teeth?
While most products approved by the FDA are safe to use, there are some options that might be a little too risky to chance or some “home remedy” options that are just plain dangerous. Using dental products before understanding their risks could lead to damaging your teeth or costly repairs in the future.
To help you avoid a few dental product pitfalls, here are a couple of dental products you should never use.
DIY Dental Repair
With dental care being costly and making appointments with the dentist difficult, it can be tempting to try “do it yourself” remedies. From home dental kits to DIY bridges or crowns, there are many options available that claim to allow you to repair your teeth yourself. While some of these might be suitable temporary coverups until you can see a dentist, they are unlikely to be safe and to work well in the long run. These options are also not likely to work as well as treatments done by a professional. If you glue a crown onto your tooth and accidentally put it on crooked, you might be stuck with a crooked tooth until you can see a dentist to remove it.
You also shouldn’t try to use household items like krazy glue or cleaning bleach on your teeth. In an attempt to save themselves a trip to the dentist or to improve their smile, some people have tried home remedies that not only damage your teeth, but are also dangerous to your overall health. If you chip a tooth or a crown falls off, don’t use krazy glue to reattach it. Krazy glue contains cyanocrylate which can be absorbed by our teeth (which are porous). If cyanocrylate is absorbed by our teeth, it can ultimately lead to a root canal.
While it might be tempting to just take care of something yourself, it’s best to consult a dental professional before wasting money and possibly damaging your teeth or health with a DIY dental repair kit.
Grills are decorative covers often made of gold, silver or jewel-encrusted precious metals that snap over one or more of a person’s teeth. This trend won’t help you keep your teeth healthy though. It is easy for food to be caught in the grills; this can allow bacteria to collect and produce acids which can cause tooth decay and harm gum tissue. Grills can also irritate surrounding oral tissues and wear the enamel away on opposing teeth.
Generally, grills are removable, but some people have had their teeth altered with gold crowns to permanently resemble a grill. And some people have tried to attach a grill with glue. Again, glue should not be used in the mouth and can damage your teeth and tissues. There are no current studies that show definitively whether grills are harmful to the mouth, but there are no long-term studies that show that wearing grills is safe. Some grills can be made from non-precious metals and can cause irritation or allergic reactions.
If you already wear grills, it’s best to remove them before eating to help prevent the buildup of food and debris and to make sure you visit a dentist for check-ups and cleanings regularly.
Toothpastes or whiteners with abrasive particles
When it comes to picking toothpastes, choosing one with a whitening agent might sound like a good idea. But whiteners in toothpastes are only designed to remove surface stains. The professional treatments done by dentists to whiten teeth involve bleaching your teeth to whiten them beyond their natural color. Whitening toothpastes and some other whitening products involve the use of abrasive particles to remove those surface stains.
Most toothpastes use hydrated silica as the particle that polishes teeth. While whitening toothpaste and products may clean surface stains, these abrasive silica particles used to polish can eventually wear down on your teeth. And once the enamel is worn down on your teeth, it cannot be built back up. If you’re unsure about whether a whitening product could be damaging to your teeth, it’s best to speak to a dentist and ask about it specifically.
If you’re interested in using a new dental product, but unsure of the effect that it could have on the health of your teeth, don’t be afraid to ask a dental health professional. It’s better to know up front whether a product could damage your teeth or negatively impact your health than pay for your mistakes in pain or costly repairs down the line.