It’s a brand new year, which for many people means it’s time to make changes for the better. If you need to flesh out your list of resolutions, consider adding a few aimed at your oral health. After all, your oral health is critical to your overall health. And who doesn’t want a beautiful, healthy smile?

Unfortunately, what’s popularly considered to be good oral health doesn’t always line up with actual good oral health. If you want a smile that’s as attractive as it is healthy in 2020, here are three oral health trends you should leave in 2019.

glass of lemon water

Charcoal Whitening

If you’ve been seeing all the Instagram models with black paste on their teeth lately, you might be considering trying out the new charcoal whitening trend. Since activated charcoal is already famous for absorbing toxins (hence why it’s used in the emergency treatment of poisoning), the idea is that it can absorb the particles causing discoloration on your teeth. And since charcoal is highly abrasive, it is possible to see whitening results at first. But while that abrasiveness may effectively wear away a surface layer of stained enamel, wear and tear to your enamel is ultimately not something you want to accelerate. Not only is your enamel an irreplaceable defense for your teeth, but the dentin underneath is darker, so your whitening efforts could backfire and leave you with yellower teeth in the long run.

Instead, if you want whiter teeth, your dentist can provide a safe, effective in-office whitening treatment.

Hot Water and Lemon

If your New Year’s resolutions include weight loss, you may have heard about hot water with lemon. This simple “tea” has long been touted as a great way to naturally rev up the digestive system, boost your metabolism, and reduce bloating. Unfortunately, whether or not it’s helpful in weight loss efforts, it’s potentially damaging for your teeth.

The acidity of the lemon can weaken your enamel, making it more susceptible to staining and damage by bacteria. And drinking it in the morning is particularly dangerous, because that allows the acidic lemon juice to sit on your teeth all morning, leaching away minerals from your teeth. Of course, you could always brush your teeth after your lemon water… which could do even more damage, since you’re scrubbing while your enamel is weak. Instead, if you’re eager to get hydrated first thing in the morning, your best bet is to brush your teeth first thing when you wake up, and then have a tall glass of water sans lemon to start your morning.

Alternative Toothpastes

In a world where “all natural” products fly off the shelves, it’s easy to get suckered into a subpar product in green packaging. Alternative toothpastes are growing more and more popular now, with big brands like Colgate buying up small, natural brands like Tom’s of Maine. And while everyone can find their own favorite brand of toothpaste, it’s key to use a toothpaste with fluoride in it. Study after study over the course of decades has shown that fluoride is an incredibly effective and easy way to reduce your chances of developing cavities. No amount of cinnamon, bentonite clay, or coconut oil will be able to protect your teeth the way fluoride can.

Not sure what’s fact or fiction when it comes to oral health? Your dentist can answer your questions. Call (845) 627-7645 or contact us online to make an appointment in Rockland County.