Mouth Off

Women's Health South Africa|July 2020

Mouth Off
Oral care is almost as trendy (and Instagrammable) as skincare. But which modern dental routines are the real deal? Sink your teeth into this guide
Jessica Migala

The dental industry doesn’t exactly have the sexiest track record. There’s the whole stuffy office thing. The harsh scrubbing. The pointy objects stabbing at your gums. It’s no wonder that 70 percent of people report having experienced anxiety in anticipation of dentist appointments.

But luckily for anyone who’s ever known dental dread, the industry is getting a makeover. See: millennial-adored dental studios that feel like spas, not torture chambers, and products from oral-care companies with display-worthy packaging and buzzy new ingredients.

The result? Looking after your teeth and gums now feels like a self-care ritual, not a chore. And this transformation is a good thing, considering there’s a strong link between oral health and your overall well-being.

The catch? Not every mouth-care practice in style right now is worthwhile or a wise idea (Siri, explain “activated charcoal”). Here, top dentists spill the, uh, mouthwash on the latest oral-hygiene trends so you can make sure your dental routine is powerful, practical and pleasant.

THE CLAIM

Oil pulling can nix bad bacteria in your mouth and prevent Alzheimer’s.

REALITY CHECK: WORTH IT... WITH A CATCH

Oil pulling means swishing oil, typically coconut, around in your mouth to supposedly remove toxins. Pros say the practice can protect gums, thanks to the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of coconut oil. “I also find that oil pulling helps reduce the number of [ulcers] patients get,” says dentist Dr Jennifer Plotnick. As for the Alzheimer’s-fighting claim? There’s no evidence to back that up.

THE CLAIM

Charcoal mouth products can whiten teeth and freshen breath.

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July 2020