The lines between truth and reality often get blurred due to fallacies. This is most certainly true when it comes to our teeth. The challenge, though, is discerning what is real from what isn’t because wrong information can be dangerous. This blog, which is crucial for promoting accurate information about oral health, will highlight some common dental myths and debunk them with facts.

Myth: Sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay.

Fact: While sugar can contribute to tooth decay, it’s not the only culprit. The real issue is the bacteria in our mouths that feed on sugar and produce acids that can harm our teeth. It’s not just about how much sugar we consume but how often we consume it and how well we care for our teeth afterward.

Myth: You should brush your teeth immediately after every meal.

Fact: While it’s essential to brush your teeth after eating (especially if you just ate something particularly potent like garlic or onions), it’s best to wait for at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks to allow teeth to remineralize. Acidic substances can soften the enamel, and brushing too soon can lead to enamel erosion. Instead, rinse your mouth with water after eating to kick start the remineralization process and wait the recommended 30 minutes to brush.

Myth: You should avoid flossing if your gums bleed.

Fact: Many people believe they should stop flossing if their gums bleed to prevent further damage. But here’s the thing: bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease (or flossing infrequently), and regular flossing helps improve gum health. So, if your gums bleed, it’s important to continue flossing gently and make an appointment with your dentist to address the issue. And yes, your dentist and hygienist can tell if you are flossing your teeth, so please do it – but not for us – for you – and anyone you enjoy kissing.

Myth: You don’t have to brush baby teeth because they will fall out anyway.

Fact: Baby teeth can get painful cavities, just like adult teeth. Let’s call baby teeth your kiddo’s practice teeth. These are the teeth your child learns to take care of through brushing and flossing twice daily – every day. Just be sure to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and remind kids to rinse after brushing.

Myth: You don’t need to visit the dentist if your teeth look and feel fine.

Fact: Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health, even if your teeth appear healthy. Your dentist can detect early signs of issues such as cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer that may not be obvious to you. Prevention and early intervention are vital in maintaining a healthy smile.

Myth: Chewing sugar-free gum can replace brushing and flossing.

Fact: While sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva flow and wash away food particles, it’s not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Good oral hygiene habits, including thorough brushing and flossing, are crucial for removing plaque and maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Myth: Whiter teeth are always healthier teeth.

Fact: While many people desire whiter teeth, the color of your teeth doesn’t necessarily reflect their health. Some people don’t get very white, no matter how often they brush their teeth. Genetics, aging, and certain medications can affect tooth color. Maintaining proper oral hygiene and addressing any underlying dental issues is more important. Coffee, soda, and wine also contribute significantly to how white your teeth can get. Bonus tip: rinse your mouth after drinking soda, coffee, or wine.

Myth: The harder you brush your teeth, the more clean they will become.

Fact: While hard work pays off for some things in life, it does not when it comes to how much pressure you place on your teeth while brushing. Brushing teeth harder can damage your tooth’s enamel and irritate your gums. Instead, choose a soft bristle brush.

Myth: Your toothbrush doesn’t matter as long as you brush your teeth.

Fact: While we would love to give every patient an A+ for brushing, there is a difference between toothbrush brands. Sonicare, which happens to be Dr. Andy’s favorite, is an excellent option because it works by emitting high-frequency vibrations at 16,000-45,000 strokes per minute. A basic toothbrush only does about 300 strokes per minute.

Debunking dental myths is essential for promoting accurate information about oral health. By staying informed and relying on evidence-based practices, we can ensure we take the best care of our teeth and gums. Always consult your dentist or hygienist, the true experts, with questions or concerns about your oral health.

Living Dental Health