Dr Ben Atkins BDS


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Dr Ben Atkins BDS

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New Year Health kicks – approach with caution!

18th January 2018

Many of us have kicked off 2018 with a whole raft of New Year resolutions. We are surrounded by a wealth of advice and tips from health and wellbeing gurus. Whether we want to get more active, lose weight, feel stronger or look better, the advice is there. I’d never want to put anyone off trying to be healthier.  However, I would like to sound a word of caution when it comes to some well-meant dietary advice.

For example, apple cider vinegar is one of these ‘natural’ remedies that is credited with all kinds of health benefits from helping you lose weight to giving you shiny hair. While I’m not sure whether these health claims are true, I’m very sure that using it to brush your teeth is a very bad idea indeed. The argument goes that this stuff can help remove plaque and food stains from your teeth. It may well do that but at the same time this acidic liquid will also damage the enamel of your teeth. In fact, rather than making your teeth whiter, it may make them look yellower.  This is because dentin, a yellowy substance underneath the tooth enamel, may start to show through the damaged enamel.

Another ‘natural’ health remedy is the recommendation to boost your immune system by knocking back hot water and lemon. During a routine check-up, one of my patients reported having sudden sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks. After talking to her about any changes in her diet she revealed she had started drinking hot water with lemon juice in it.  She had read this would be good for her. She was right that it would provide a vitamin C boost but the acid in the lemon was attacking her tooth enamel, making it vulnerable to decay and increased sensitivity. It’s very dangerous to our mouths taken like this, just like apple cider.

Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste after drinking lemon juice will help limit the damage.  But, my advice would be to give that particular ‘health drink’ a miss, along with the apple cider ‘toothpaste’.

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