5 Most Common Dental Myths Debunked
Just like a game of telephone, the truth can become lost when communicated from one person to another. The facts and myths about dental care are no exception! We have all heard stories about proper dental care, the causes of tooth decay, and oral health, many of which are simply not true. Let’s discuss the biggest myths concerning oral health care and the best routine to keep your teeth happy and healthy!
Myth 1: If You Have No Oral Health Concerns, There’s No Need for an Exam
One of the biggest myths is if someone has no existing issues with their teeth, there is no reason to go to the dentist. As a result, many wait until they experience symptoms such as jaw pain or bleeding gums before they schedule their dental checkup. In these cases, patients are often faced with more extensive dental issues, and as a result, treatment options are more costly due to the work required. With your regularly scheduled dental cleaning, the dental hygienist can clean your teeth better than you can at home by clearing out any tartar that may have developed. This is especially true in the presence of implants and their restorations where the hygienists clean with even more specialized instruments. Dental hygienists are also specially trained to find underlying issues before they become a bigger problem, saving you time and money down the line!
Myth 2: Sugar Causes Cavities
While there is some truth to trying to avoid sugary snacks or drinks, sugar is not the cause of tooth decay. Rather, the plaque that feeds on sugars left behind on teeth after eating candies or other sugary snacks is the main culprit. Bacteria feed on the sugary residue left behind on teeth forming plaque. If left without cleaning, plaque can turn into tartar which is a hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist’s specialty tools. As a result, you can safely consume that candy bar you’ve had your eye on – as long as you are conscious to brush your teeth and floss afterward to remove any sugar left on your teeth and protect your enamel. This is why it is always better to avoid sticky candies and sweets, they are much more difficult to remove
Myth 3: You should brush hard every time you brush your teeth, so they get as clean as possible
“People tend to brush aggressively, thinking it’s the only way they can get their teeth to feel clean and look whiter,” says Dr. Gene Romo, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA). “That’s counterproductive, because not only does it cause recession of your gums, but you're also wearing away the white, glossy enamel on your teeth, making them look yellow and darker.” It may seem like the proper response to brush harder to get off more plaque or remove darker stains, especially in patients who may have neglected their oral health. Unfortunately, the opposite is actually true. If left uncared for, plaque will turn into tartar which can only be removed by professional treatment. Brushing harder, or for longer periods of time, may only lead to increased gum sensitivity, and may contribute to receding gums.
If you find your toothbrush looks worn down or flattened after only a month or so of use, it may be an indication that you are brushing too hard and need to practice brushing more gently.
Myth #4: “It’s normal if my gums bleed while brushing and flossing.”
Bleeding gums is typically caused by harmful gum inflammation that, if left untreated, could develop into early periodontal disease. If you do not normally floss, you may notice that your gums bleed when you start working it into your routine. While it may seem counter-intuitive, it is important that you continue flossing at least once every 24 hours in order to protect your teeth from tartar buildup and to remove plaque from the 'in-between' tooth surfaces where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Flossing is vital in that it is able to reach spots on your teeth that are unreachable with a toothbrush.
Myth 5: Sugar-free drinks are better for your teeth
Drinking diet or sugar free beverages is not the solution to avoiding enamel damage. This is because sugar is not the main cause of tooth decay when it comes to sodas and other sugary beverages. The acidity in these drinks is one of the main causes of enamel wear leaving your teeth more susceptible to cavities and infections. While we would recommend avoiding fizzy drinks, it is best to be aware of how many and how often you consume them in order to give your teeth time to repair and clear away any acidity in your mouth caused by these beverages.
Schedule An Oral Exam & Cleaning
Proactive care is the best defense against tooth decay and cavities. Visit any of our Dental365 locations in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey to schedule your next cleaning and exam. Contact us at (844) 365-DENTAL for more information or to schedule an appointment.