It’s no surprise that there are quite a few myths about oral health out there. From old wives’ tales to stories that have just been passed down year after year incorrectly, it seems like the only thing people know for sure is what they’ve heard from others. But some of these myths can actually lead to more harm than good for your teeth and gums– so today we’re going to debunk the most common dental myths.
The Most Common Dental Myths Debunked
Myth #1 It’s best to brush your teeth straight after eating or drinking
Truth: Our teeth are at their most vulnerable right after eating or drinking. The American Dental Association recommends waiting at least 60 minutes after a meal, especially if you consumed something that was particularly acidic. If you brush too soon after a meal, you can damage your enamel.
Myth #2 You can tell your oral health by the color of your gums
Truth: While it may seem like a good way to diagnose gum disease, you cannot always do this accurately. The only real sign is if they are red and swollen– or bleeding when you brush them.
Myth #3 If you have bleeding gums, it means they are healthy
Truth: Nope– this is actually a sign of gum disease and should be treated immediately. Gum disease can cause problems with your teeth and bones so don’t ignore symptoms or brush them off as “nothing”. It’s important to see the dentist for a professional examination.
Myth #4 You can tell how healthy your teeth are by looking at them
Truth: Tooth discoloration, yellowing and other issues with the tooth enamel can be caused by genetics, age or acid erosion from certain foods– so you may not have as much control over it as you think. Make sure to visit your dentist for a professional examination if you notice anything off with your teeth.
Myth #5 Cavities only happen because of sugary and starchy foods
Truth: While it’s important to only enjoy these foods in moderation, there are other things that can cause cavities including dry mouth (xerostomia) and certain medications. It’s important to see your dentist for a professional examination if you’re concerned about tooth decay or cavities– they can help identify the main cause of them. You might be more at risk for cavities if you:
- Eat certain foods and drinks
- Snack or sip frequently
- Feed your babies at bedtime, which can cause beverages to remain on their teeth overnight feeding bacteria
- Don’t brush or floss your teeth properly
- Aren’t getting enough fluoride, which is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities and reverse early stages of tooth damage
- Are young or old in age, cavities are most common in young children and older adults
- Suffer from dry mouth
- Have worn fillings or dental devices, these can weaken overtime and develop rough edges where plaque can easily develop
- Experience heartburn, which allows stomach acid to flow into the mouth and attack the teeth
- Have an eating disorder, which can lead to tooth erosion and cavities
Myth #6 You don’t need fluoride treatments
Truth: While it may be an extra expense, fluoride is actually very beneficial in strengthening the enamel and helps prevent cavities. If you live in an area without fluoride, it can be added to your water supply– so talk with your dentist about the best options for your oral health.
Myth #7 You should only floss when there’s food stuck between your teeth
Truth: While this may seem like a good idea, it’s actually recommended to floss at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque from areas that are hard for your toothbrush to reach– so make sure you’re doing this daily.
Myth #8 You only have to brush your teeth every other day
Truth: Plaque and the bacteria in your mouth do cause cavities over time which is why it’s important to brush twice daily and floss at least once per day. Brushing at least twice per day and flossing once per day will keep your teeth clean. If you are only brushing every other day, there is a chance that plaque may build up along the gum line or in between teeth which can lead to cavities too.
What Should I Do if I Have Questions About My Dental Health?
If you’re concerned about your oral health, there’s nothing wrong with asking questions. Here at Young Family Dental, we like to make sure patients are aware of all their options and that they feel comfortable when visiting our office. We will take the time to talk through any concerns or issues you have– big or small. To take charge of your oral health, make an appointment at one of our convenient Utah locations today.