We often encounter misconceptions about oral hygiene. You have probably heard some of the more common myths yourself. Unfortunately, many people believe these ideas which can be harmful to their dental health. In this article, we will set the record straight by debunking these myths with facts backed by scientific evidence and years of professional experience.
Myth #1 – Brushing Harder Is Better
Many people brush their teeth too aggressively in an attempt to keep them healthy. In reality, this often does more harm than good. Overly vigorous brushing can damage the enamel surrounding your teeth and cause your gums to recede. If you are an aggressive brusher, using a soft-bristled toothbrush can help you be gentler with your teeth. Light, thorough brushing is best.
Myth #2 – White Teeth Are Always Healthier Teeth
White teeth may be aesthetically pleasing, but in reality, the color of your teeth does not always indicate their health. Some people have teeth that are more yellowish due to genetic factors, age, or even certain medications. Also, habitually drinking coffee, tea, or wine can stain otherwise healthy teeth. If your teeth are less white than you would like for them to be, talk to your dentist about professional whitening procedures that can safely improve the color of your teeth without the risks that many over-the-counter whitening kits carry with them.
Myth # 3 – Baby Teeth Don’t Matter
Because primary (or baby teeth) fall out, some people believe they are inconsequential to a child’s dental health. Parents who believe this myth may not be as diligent about brushing and flossing their children’s teeth, or they might not seek dental care for issues like cavities. The truth is primary teeth are vital to a child’s current and future dental health. The health of their baby teeth heavily influences the development of the child’s permanent teeth. The role of the primary or baby teeth is to act as a guide for the permanent teeth as they come in. In addition, primary teeth play an important role in speech development and proper chewing. Neglecting the health of baby teeth can lead to orthodontic issues later on.
Myth # 4 – You Only Need A Dentist If You Have A Toothache
It can be tempting to wait until you are in pain to visit the dentist. Avoiding painful dental issues by going for routine check-ups and cleanings is much better. Many dental concerns are easier to treat when caught early. Cavities and conditions like gum disease can be painless for a long time, so if you are waiting for pain to indicate that you need treatment, you are missing a valuable window of time when less invasive treatment measures could help or even reverse dental conditions. By the time pain has set in, more serious dental procedures like a root canal or tooth extraction might be needed. Research shows that adults and children should schedule routine cleanings and checkups every six months.
Myth #5 – Cavities Are Only Caused By Sugar
Some people believe that if they avoid all sugar, they’ll never have to worry about cavities. That simply is not true. Sugar often contributes to tooth decay, but it is not the only cause of cavities. Poor oral hygiene, infrequent dental visits, genetics, and other dietary factors also play a role. Other carbohydrates can contribute to cavities because as they break down, they become sugars sticking to the teeth. Ultimately, tooth decay is the result of bacteria – and that bacteria feed on sugar and carbs.
Myth #6 – Alcohol-Based Mouthwash Is Always Good For You
Using an alcohol-based mouthwash will make your mouth feel clean, but it can do more harm than good. The alcohol in the mouthwash kills bacteria: the bad and the good! Your mouth has a delicate ecology, and the good bacteria help optimize your dental health. Getting rid of the good bacteria makes you susceptible to ulcers, damaging cavity fillings, and increases your risk of oral cancers. Using mouthwash is a good practice, but carefully check the ingredients to ensure it is alcohol-free.
Myth #7 – You Should Always Rinse After Brushing
Rinsing immediately after brushing can minimize the benefits of the fluoride in your toothpaste. It is better to wait 20-30 minutes after brushing before you rinse. The fluoride coating on your teeth will help to prevent cavities.
Dispelling these seven common dental myths is essential for promoting healthy dental care and habits. Regular visits and conversations with your local dentist will help you stay informed and ensure your smile stays radiant and healthy.