Social media is a marvelous tool. It connects people, allowing us to maintain relationships when separated, connect with people who have similar interests, and share information widely with those who need it. Unfortunately, this same speed and connectivity allow us to spread wrongful information just as quickly as the truth. This is especially true with health-related matters, where fads and urban myths often take the place of genuine medical advice.
To be clear upfront: please do not take medical or dental advice from any social media post without first doing some research with a trustworthy source and consulting your doctor or dentist. Blindly following some TikTok or YouTube videos may at best be harmless or at worst may cause damage to your health. As examples, we’ve collected some pieces of “advice” about oral health found on social media and we’ll explain why they’re wrong if not dangerous.
Drink a shot of apple cider vinegar every day. Apple cider vinegar is often touted as having a variety of health benefits, and it certainly does taste good. Drinking it or using it as a mouthwash may cause oral health problems, however, as the acids in the vinegar can weaken tooth enamel and make teeth more prone to damage and decay. Stick with regular mouthwash and use apple cider vinegar to cook.
Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide. This particular piece of advice has been floating around the internet for years, and it’s still a bad idea. Hydrogen peroxide in its pure form is strong enough to cause chemical burns, and diluting it down is best left to the professionals. So as with apple cider vinegar, avoid this mistake and just use regular mouthwash instead.
Rubbing banana skin on your teeth. We didn’t believe this was sincere at first, but there seem to be people who believe it so we’ll address it now. The myth goes that rubbing banana skin on your teeth can whiten them in lieu of a whitening treatment or whitening toothpaste. In reality not only does banana skin have no effect on the color of your teeth, by exposing them to additional fructose and other sugars can cause cavities.
Filing down uneven teeth. There are several videos floating around TikTok purporting to demonstrate how you can file down uneven teeth yourself using household tools. To be blunt, this is both stupid and dangerous and could result in permanent damage or the loss of a tooth. There are a variety of cosmetic dental treatments available to address uneven teeth which are far less damaging, and all are best carried out by a dentist.
There’s a unique temptation to DIY health advice–it can save you time and money and frankly it just sounds cool. While there may be times and places for home cures, they should be vetted carefully in consultation with your dentist or other healthcare professional. Not only can they help you avoid bad advice and misinformation, but they also know your particular needs and unique situation and can give you appropriate advice. At BlueWave Dentistry we strive to do just that: treat each of our patients as they are and give them the individual care they deserve. Contact us today to make an appointment and we’ll help your smile be the best that it can be.