I usually like watching like Dr. Oz and Oprah. I can always gleam some good advice or learn something new when they do shows on health and beauty. And in September, Dr. Oz had a really good article on dental health. But, I have to take issue with Dr. Oz’s recent blog on December 2, 2010. He wrote about natural dental remedies, and natural ways to whiten teeth. Unfortunately, most of this blog was not accurate.
We all know that fruits are good for you. But can raisins, apples and strawberries clean your teeth and make them white? NO, of course not. Dr. Oz suggested that since raisins can stimulate saliva flow (true) it ‘naturally’ washes away dental plaque. This is false; worse yet raisins are full of sticky sugars. Many fruits like raisins have this natural sticky sugar, and when combined with plaque, it sticks to teeth and causes cavities (the same way candy causes cavities). The blog goes on to say that chewing crunchy apples removes the excess food and bacteria in your mouth, and the malic acid in apples is like a whitening agent. Well, the truth is the best way to clean plaque, and sugars, is by mechanical means, like good old-fashioned brushing and flossing. And the malic acid? In the small quantities found in a single apple, it won’t ‘whiten’ your teeth at all.
And strawberries? Well, the article suggested that the Vitamin C found in the berries would clear away plaque which would help whiten teeth. He also suggests that the astringent in strawberries effectively aids in the removal of surface stains. Again FALSE. Just eating the strawberry won’t do either. It simply is not true that ‘foods’ can clear plaque or remove surface stains. Remember, there is no magic paste, mouth rinse, fruit, or food that can remove plaque and stains.
Lastly, and most disturbing, is that Dr. Oz suggested using a slurry mix of baking soda and lemon juice on your teeth to whiten them. What? That is just crazy. The pH scales runs 0 to 14, with 0 being most acidic. Lemon juice is very acidic at pH2, the same as Coca-Cola! And baking soda? Yes, is it on the opposite end of the acid scale, being mildly basic and able to neutralize the lemon juice. (That is why it bubbles when both are mixed together.) But baking soda is very abrasive. So combine an acid with an abrasive material, and you get the perfect material to destroy enamel. Imagine doing this over and over again over time and the enamel will erode, 100% sure of that.
Sorry Dr. Oz, the very idea that a celebrity like you would suggest a DESTRUCTIVE method to “whiten” your teeth in an effort to save a few hundred dollars ( the cost of professional, effective, and SAFE whitening) is mind-blowing to me. Proven methods of whitening teeth, when done as instructed, will not hurt enamel.
I know there are many people who want natural remedies for everyday ailments, and many of those work fine. But this is one area that there is no alternative. To find out more just click the link “Teeth Whitening”, or ask a dentist near you.