You know how you should brush after every meal? Actually, you don’t. Sugar isn’t the main cause of cavities. And bleaching doesn’t weaken your teeth. With so many misconceptions surrounding dental health, it’s not surprising that we’ve made up a few myths over the years to explain our dental issues. So why do we believe these myths? We usually heard them from somewhere, and they get repeated over and over again that we just take them for face value. But when it comes to your dental health, having false information can be dangerous. For your benefit, we have debunked four of the most common dental myths below:
Myth #1: You should brush after every meal
It’s obvious that brushing your teeth is important. But you may be surprised to learn that brushing right after a meal may be harming your teeth.
Yep! When you eat, your mouth produces acids, which soften your tooth enamel while it breaks down food particles. Brushing too soon after eating can actually wear away the protective tooth enamel, your mouth’s primary defense against cavities. It’s best to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before brushing to give your saliva time to neutralize the high acid levels in your mouth caused by eating and drinking.
Myth #2: Sugar is the main cause of cavities
Contrary to popular belief, sugar itself doesn’t cause cavities. It’s the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth which causes cavities. These bacteria are triggered to produce acid whenever you eat anything with carbohydrates or sugar. The acid eats into your tooth, creating decay and therefore the cavity.
The amount of carbs or sugar you eat doesn’t matter as much as how long your teeth are exposed to it. If you gulp down one soda for lunch and stop there, that’s not too bad. But if spend all day sipping on that soda, you’re exposing your teeth for a much longer time, and that’s much more unhealthy for your teeth.
Just remember: Sipping all day causes tooth decay.
Myth #3: You should brush less for bleeding gums
On the surface this myth makes sense - if your gums are bleeding it seems reasonable you should leave them alone and let them heal. In fact, the opposite is true. Gums often bleed because plaque and food particles become caught along the gum line causing it to become inflamed. A build up of plaque irritates sensitive gum tissue.
To stop bleeding gums, you need to begin consistently brushing and flossing gently twice a day. The key is holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, with the bristles pointing to your gums. This is the best way to remove plaque by brushing. It the bleeding persists, it may be a sign of possible gum disease and you should consult with your dentist.
Myth #4: Bleaching and whitening weakens your teeth
We’d all like our teeth to be whiter. Luckily there are many bleaching and whitening products available to make your teeth look their best. However some people worry that using bleaching products can be harmful for their teeth and make them weaker.
Is there any truth behind this? No, there isn’t. Bleaching products are generally safe if used according to the directions. That’s because bleaching only changes the colour of the teeth by removing tooth pigmentation, and doesn’t affect their health or strength. Just keep in mind that over bleaching may cause tooth sensitivity and irritated gums, so if you decide to use whitening products, please do so responsibly.
So, how do you steer clear of dental myths?
The best way to avoid them is to see your dentist on a regular basis. He will diagnose any dental problems and let you know the facts regarding your oral health. Therefore take the time to educate yourself and develop good dental habits towards a healthier smile!