With all the dental advice and information available online and passed through family and friends, it can be hard to know what is true and what is not. We have accumulated a list of common dental myths, to help keep you informed and on top of your oral health!
Myth 1: Brushing your teeth harder and more often keeps them cleaner
Sometimes more is not always better. With the heavy emphasis on always brushing your teeth, you may think that brushing your teeth harder and more often will keep them cleaner and healthier. But actually, over brushing can lead to enamel and gum damage. Over brushing can aggravate the gum tissue which exposes the root of your teeth. This can make your teeth more sensitive and more susceptible to infection. Brushing too hard can also wear away the enamel which protects your teeth. It is better to brush thoroughly, rather than aggressively or vigorously to remove plaque. So, make to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, using the recommended technique for two minutes, twice a day, so as to not damage your teeth or gums.
Myth 2: Diet soft drink is okay for your teeth because it doesn’t contain sugar
While diet soft drinks do not contain sugar, they are still highly acidic. The acid in these drinks will eat away at the enamel which protects your teeth, causing tooth sensitivity and an increased susceptibility to tooth decay. This is particularly bad if you sip on soft drink throughout the day as this does not give your mouth a chance to neutralise the acidity. The best option is to switch soft drinks for water, to help keep your mouth and teeth healthy.
Myth 3: You should brush your teeth immediately after eating and drinking
You may think that the best way to keep your teeth healthy is to brush immediately after eating or drinking. For some foods that are high in sugars, brushing your teeth immediately can help to get rid of the bacteria that attacks your tooth enamel. However, if you have consumed something acidic, it is actually worse to brush your teeth immediately. This is because you are spreading the acid around your mouth which breaks down the enamel on your teeth. So, for drinks like coffee, soft drink, citrus flavoured drinks or citrus fruit, remember to wait at least half an hour before you brush. This helps by giving the saliva in your mouth time to neutralise the acid. Instead of brushing immediately, rinse your mouth out with water to help wash away the remaining sugars and acids.
Myth 4: The more sugar you eat, the more cavities you get
While this is somewhat true, it is not the amount of sugar, but rather how long the sugar stays in contact with your teeth. This is because bacteria in your mouth feed on carbohydrates like sugar. This produces an acid which breaks down the tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Slow dissolving sugars and lollies are particularly bad, as the sugar stays longer in your mouth. To help prevent cavities and keep teeth healthy, rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth after eating sugary foods.
Myth 5: You shouldn’t brush your teeth if your gums are bleeding
In theory, you may think that it makes sense not to brush if your gums are bleeding as this would further irritate them. However, not brushing your teeth will only make things worse. Most often, the reason gums are bleeding is because of a build-up of bacteria and plaque. When you don’t properly remove plaque, it irritates the gums. This can cause bleeding and may even lead to gum disease. Therefore, the best solution is to make sure you brush and floss twice a day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If the bleeding continues, you should make an appointment with your dentist as this may be a sign of a more serious issue.
Myth 6: Baby teeth don’t matter as they fall out anyway
Do baby teeth really matter, after all, they fall out anyway? Yes! Baby teeth are actually extremely important. While these teeth do eventually fall out, they play in important role in your child’s oral health. Baby teeth help to guide incoming adult teeth, so if baby teeth are lost too early, adult teeth may be more crooked or misaligned. Neglecting baby teeth can also lead to an infection, which may be very serious if left untreated. This is why it is important to brush and floss to prevent infection. Caring for baby teeth also helps to set up good oral health habits for adulthood. To prevent bad habits in the future, start your child looking after their teeth from an early age. For more tips, check out our post how to encourage kids to brush their teeth.
Myth 7: The whiter your teeth, the healthier they are
While whiter, brighter teeth may certainly look nicer, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthier. Everyone has different shades of teeth based on genes, age and daily habits such as smoking, drinking or eating certain foods. We may think that the whiter our teeth, the healthier they, but this is not true. As you get older, your teeth may become more yellow, but still be in good health. Likewise, you can have bright, white teeth that are not necessarily in the best health. Whitening your teeth can help them look great, but it should not substitute good oral health care. You should never take your dental health for granted, so be sure to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleans. If you are interested in achieving a brighter smile, we also offer tooth whitening services.
Myth 8: You only need to see the dentist if you think something is wrong with your tooth
You may think it is only necessary to visit the dentist when you feel like something is wrong. But this is not true. While your tooth may not hurt, this doesn’t mean nothing is wrong. Cavities, for example, do not usually hurt until the decay reaches the nerve of the tooth. However, at this point, it may be too late for a filling and you could need more serious treatment such as a root canal. This is why regular dental check-ups are extremely important, no matter how well you look after your teeth. Regular check-ups can also help save you money in the long-term by preventing more serious issues. Your dentist is able to spot things you would not notice, such as early tooth problems, and they will monitor gum health to help prevent diseases.
This list gives you some clarification on some common dental myths. Remember to always look after your oral health and come in for regular check-ups. To book an appointment, get in contact today!