As a practising dentist, I see a variety of patients many of whom believe in several different myths when it comes to their teeth. It’s important to have the right information when it’s about looking after your teeth, so I thought that I would debunk the most common dental myths and present the facts. Here goes…
MYTH #1: White teeth are healthy teeth
FACT #1: This isn’t necessarily the case. Yellow teeth can be just as healthy as pearly white teeth and in fact, yellow teeth maybe caused by natural aging. Teeth that are too white may also mean that you suffer from excessive fluorides or a calcium deficiency.
MYTH #2: Sugar is the only cause of tooth decay
FACT #2: This is untrue. While foods rich in sugar such as candy, soda, or juice maybe bad for your teeth, all kinds of food may lead to plaque build-up, if you don’t brush and floss your teeth properly. You should brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and should consult a dentist regularly to prevent plaque from hardening into tartar and harming your teeth and gums.
MYTH #3: Bleaching weakens teeth
FACT #3: Bleaching products are usually harmless if you follow instructions. It is recommended that you visit a dentist for a professional bleaching session. Bleaching only affects the color of your teeth, not their health or strength. However, repeated bleaching may result in sensitive teeth.
MYTH #4: Brushing is bad for bleeding gums
FACT #4: When your gums bleed it is a sign that plaque and tartar are building up along and under your gum line. So, in fact, it is recommended that you brush your teeth more regularly and gently than ever before as a first step to treating bleeding gums. Also, if you have bleeding gums, you should visit a dentist.
MYTH #5: Bad breath means bad teeth
FACT #5: This may not be true. While poor dental hygiene is a cause of bad breath, there are other causes, such as the foods you eat. So, if you’ve gorged on garlic or onions, or , have an illness like pneumonia, you may have bad breath. So, do visit your dentist, who will determine whether your bad breath is caused by poor dental hygiene or some other reason.
MYTH #6: Placing an Aspirin near an aching tooth will relieve pain
FACT #6: It is advisable not to use too much aspirin or oral gels to relieve gum pain, as it may lead to burn symptoms on the gums. Also, typically, aspirin has to enter the bloodstream for it to take effect. So, if you have an aching tooth or teeth, do visit your dentist who will determine the cause of your pain and treat it accordingly.
MYTH #7: There is no reason to see a dentist if there is no pain in my mouth
FACT #7: You should consult your dentist regularly, preferably once every 6 months, whether you have any symptoms or not. Also, if you have gum disease, you may need to see your dentist every 3 months or so. In fact, many teeth and gum diseases manifest early without symptoms, so your dentist will be best able to diagnose any impending teeth or gum conditions.
MYTH #8: Flossing does not make a difference
FACT #8: While certain studies have questioned the efficacy of flossing, there are places in your mouth that your toothbrush just cannot reach. It is advisable to floss your teeth at least twice a day to prevent tooth and gum disease. Flossing can also help prevent gingivitis by cleaning out the acid-producing bacterial biofilm that accumulates between and beneath your teeth.
While there are several other myths that dental patients believe in, these are some of the most common. Don’t believe in these myths and ensure good dental health and hygiene by consulting your dentist regularly. Here’s to debunking the most common dental myths!