I'm a dentist, and these four common mistakes are destroying your teeth.

He's explaining everything to us.

An NYC dentist has revealed the four mistakes people make that ruin their smiles — and they have nothing to do with terrifying TikTok challenges.

Dr. Gerry Curatola, who founded Manhattan-based Rejuvenation Dentistry, is advising against some commonplace dental practices — such as brushing with charcoal toothpaste and undergoing root canals.


Put down the Listerine, the enamel expert argues.

“Mouthwash has absolutely no value in oral care,” he cautioned to the Daily Mail in an interview published Saturday. “It’s another manmade creation by the consumer products industry.”

Woman pouring mouthwash into little cup
Curatola believes mouthwash is not beneficial.
Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

Despite guidance from the American Dental Association that certain mouthwashes can keep bacteria, plaque, tooth decay and gingivitis at bay, Curatola insists they could cause harm.

He claims some mouthwashes contain preservatives, such as parabens, that can destroy the mouth’s microbiome.

“I’m always amazed that dentists are giving people little bottles of mouthwash on their cleaning visit that’s loaded with alcohol, artificial dyes and colors like that fluorescent blue color, made from coal tar, which is a known carcinogen,” Curatola said.

According to Healthline, mouthwashes can be harmful if overused.

Experts warn against frequent mouthwash usage due to potential teeth staining from dyes, removal of the healthy microbiome and a potential cancer risk, for which there is limited evidence.

Dr. Curatola in photo on the beach
The Manhattan-based dentist has over 35 years of clinical experience.

Root canals

Over 41,000 root canals are performed every day in the US — but Curatola refuses to be part of that trend.

“It’s the only procedure we do where we keep human dead tissue inside you,” he explained.

The treatment involves removing bacteria and decay from the tooth, disinfecting the area, filling the roots, and sealing them to prevent further decay.

Woman being examined at dentist
Root canals come with health risks, like any procedure.
Getty Images

Not only are they painful and, like any procedure, carry risks, but they have also been linked to increased endotoxin levels. However, there is limited research on the phenomenon.

“These are bacteria and bacterial byproducts that can dysregulate your immune system. So they’re really not healthy for the patient long term,” Curatola said.

Healthline dispelled the purported connection between cancer and root canals, arguing the “myth” causes unnecessary fear in those who would benefit from the procedure.

Root canal risks include persistent infections, improper seals and inadequate filling, but the greatest risk could be an untreated canal.

Charcoal toothpaste on brush
Studies have suggested that charcoal toothpaste can stain and hurt tooth enamel.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Charcoal toothpaste

Activated charcoal has surged in popularity with promises of whitening teeth and providing fresh breath.

But Curatola warns it can be abrasive and even ruin tooth enamel.

“It’s the equivalent of using Ajax on your teeth,” he explained. “If you’re brushing with it every day, you’re going to wave your enamel away, and your teeth are going to get more sensitive.”

Despite being sold by Colgate, Crest and other major dental brands, limited research has suggested that charcoal toothpaste may be too abrasive for everyday use and often does not contain fluoride, the mineral that facilitates a healthy smile.

Metal fillings

While not as widespread anymore, metal fillings were once commonplace in dentistry.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the fillings, also called dental amalgam, are often a mixture of liquid mercury and powdered alloy.

Metal fillings in mouth
Concerns abound over metal fillings that contain mercury and the possibility of inhaling mercury vapors.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The mercury content in the fillings has the potential to release mercury vapor into the mouth, which could be inhaled by the lungs.

Mercury exposure has been linked to numerous adverse health affects, prompting a 2020 advisory from the FDA warning against the use of metal fillings in high-risk individuals.

Curatola recommends other options, such as ceramic, porcelain or resin fillings.

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