Dental Care Myths

1) MYTH: You don’t really need to floss if you brush your teeth really well.

FACT: In 2016 the Departments of Agriculture and Health & Human Services removed the flossing recommendation from their dietary guidelines. The reason? The American Academy of Periodontology’s most recent study failed to demonstrate a benefit. Now before you go throwing all your dental floss in the trash, keep in mind that gum disease is extremely slow developing and the aforementioned study was not allowed to cover the time period needed to prove the benefit. Also, all dentists are still recommending flossing due to common sense. Flossing helps remove plaque from between teeth, so it can only help. It certainly is not causing any harm.

RECOMMENDATION: Keep flossing!

2) MYTH: To get your teeth extra clean, use a hard toothbrush, brush hard, and use a rough toothpaste or baking soda

FACT: Using a hard toothbrush, brushing hard, and using a rough substance to clean your teeth all grinds away at the enamel that protect your teeth. Don’t do this!

RECOMMENDATION: Brush gently with a soft brush and regular toothpaste.

3) MYTH: If your teeth or gums bleed — brush and floss less to allow them to heal.

FACT: When bacteria and plaque get stuck in our teeth and gums, they cause the gums to become inflamed which leads to bleeding. This often happens when you don’t floss regularly. The instinct to give your teeth and gums time to heal is incorrect.

RECOMMENDATION: Continue to brush and floss regularly, especially when they’re bleeding (likely) due to negligence.

4) MYTH: If you brush and floss really well right before you go to the dentist, they won’t know you’ve been slacking on your dental hygiene.

FACT: Sorry folks, we dentists can tell. If your gums bleed during flossing and have tartar & plaque built up in certain spots, it indicates to your dentist that you need to improve your dental hygiene.

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t try to hide your dental hygiene negligence, because your dentist is not easily fooled. It’s best to take care of your teeth & gums so your dentist is impressed.

5) MYTH: Sugar is what causes most, if not all cavities.

FACT: Sugar does contribute to tooth decay, but so do carbohydrates. If not properly brushed and flossed away, bacteria in the mouth form to break down the food particles, and these bacteria release an acid which damages the layer of enamel which protects your teeth.

RECOMMENDATION: Everything in moderation. Sugar and carbohydrates should be limited for a healthy diet, but when you do eat them, be sure to practice proper dental hygiene.

6) MYTH: You should brush and floss right after eating or drinking anything.

FACT: This sounds like a good idea on the surface. If food and drink are left untouched they attract enamel-eating bacteria, it makes sense to remove that food immediately, right? Wrong. You can actually make it worse by brushing the food or drink into your teeth.

RECOMMENDATION: It’s best to rinse your mouth out with water and wait 30 minutes before brushing.

7) MYTH: If you don’t feel any pain in your mouth, you don’t need to go to the dentist.

FACT: Dental cleanings and checkups are preventative in nature. The cleaning is important, sure, but the x-rays and visual, hand-on checkup help spot issues well before they would cause pain. In fact, if you’re feeling pain it means the decay has reached a nerve, which means you might need a root canal or to remove the tooth to fix the problem.

RECOMMENDATION: Schedule a cleaning / checkup for every 6 months no matter what. Preventative dental care now saves pain and money later.

8) MYTH: Sugar-free diet soda doesn’t damage your teeth.

FACT: Diet soda is highly acidic so it eats away at your protective layer of enamel.

RECOMMENDATION: Try to avoid acidic drinks like diet soda, orange juice, and lemonade. If you do want to drink an acidic beverage, it’s best to drink it quickly, use a straw to try to bypass your teeth as much as possible, rinse your mouth with water afterward, and then brush at least 30 minutes after.

9) MYTH: To relieve tooth pain you can put an aspirin directly on the tooth.

FACT: This is an old home remedy that simply doesn’t work that well. In fact, Aspirin is an acid that can damage your teeth and soft tissues.

RECOMMENDATION: If you have tooth pain, you should go to the dentist!

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