Today, we’ll be taking a look at another selection of dental myths from the archives. Misconceptions abound when it comes to the right and wrong way to look after your teeth and gums. The problem being that some of these myths can lead to poor decision-making on the part of those buying into them.
Truth is, keeping your teeth and gums in immaculate condition can be surprisingly simple. All of which begins with following the advice of the experts – not the wild and wacky theories circulating online.
With this in mind, here’s a brief rundown of several long-standing dental myths, well and truly debunked:
Myth: The harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be
First up, there’s at least some logic to the argument behind brushing harder for a better clean. Unfortunately, brushing too aggressively can quickly wear away the enamel that coats the surface of the tooth.
This is why the vast majority of dentists don’t even recommend medium-bristled brushes. Unless you’re specifically recommended a stiffer brush by your dentist, a soft-bristled brush is the way to go. Or better yet, a dentist recommended electric toothbrushthat prevents excessive pressure being applied outright.
Myth: Flossing isn’t important if you brush and use mouthwash
This particular myth stems from the fact that oral hygiene products in general are more effective and advanced than they have ever been. To brush and rinse twice a day using high-quality is indeed to give most of your mouth an exceptionally good clean.
But there will always be parts of the mouth that cannot be reached with a conventional toothbrush. Just as some of the debris that gets lodged between the teeth cannot be removed with mouthwash. Precisely why dentists continue to recommend flossing on a daily basis – the only realistic way to give your mouth a truly comprehensive clean.
Myth: If I chew gum all day, I can skip brushing
If you accidentally forget to brush your teeth in the morning, then yes – chewing sugar-free gum is better than nothing. The chewing action encourages the production of saliva, helping rid the mouth of potentially hazardous acids and protecting the teeth from decay.
However, this doesn’t mean that chewing sugar-free gum should ever be seen as a viable replacement for brushing, flossing and rinsing. Chewing gum won’t remove the plaque that’s forming on your teeth, it won’t remove the debris going rotten around your mouth and it won’t treat your teeth to the fluoride they need to stay strong and healthy.
Myth: If your gums bleed when you floss, it’s best to stop right away
If your gums bleed when you floss, it’s got nothing to do with the flossing process. Instead, it’s inflammation of the gums that cause them to bleed. Something which, in the vast majority of instances, indicates the early signs of gum disease.
In which case, stopping flossing due to bleeding gums is actually the last thing you should do. The key to combating gum disease lies in taking your oral hygiene regime to the next level, which includes flossing carefully with an appropriate product. In any case, bleeding gums should always be discussed promptly with your dentist, who can advise on appropriate treatment.
Myth: Sugar is the number one cause of cavities
This often comes as a bitter pill to swallow for anyone making every possible effort to cut sugar out of their diet. Tooth decay and cavities have long been associated with sugary sweets and drinks, which can indeed lead to rotting and decay. However, there’s evidence to suggest that carbohydrates could be even worse.
This is to do with the fact that carbohydrates are starchier than sugars. They contain sugars that contribute to tooth decay, but also stick fast to the surface of the teeth more stubbornly than standard sugars. Dentists, therefore, advise chewing sugar-free gum or rinsing after eating carb-rich foods, just as you would (or might) after eating sweets.
Myth: An electric toothbrush is no better than a manual brush
There’s a reason why almost every dentist on earth recommends buying the best electric toothbrush and saying goodbye to the manual method. A good electric toothbrush is capable of cleaning the teeth on a level that goes beyond the capacity of any manual brush.
Irrespective of how fast and frenzied you brush your teeth, your manual brush just isn’t as good as an electric brush…period. Electric brushes are better for a deep-down whole-mouth clean, getting into awkward spaces and controlling the pressure exerted. If manual brushes were better, don’t you think dentists would be using them in their own offices?
Myth: You only need a dental checkup when there’s something wrong
Contrary to popular belief, the dentist’s primary role is not addressing oral health problems. It’s preventing oral health problems from occurring in the first place, through strategic preventative maintenance.
To visit a dentist on a regular basis is to save yourself the unpleasantness of severe oral health problems in the future. Unfortunately, most people only visit their dentists when things have already taken a turn for the worst. Dentist visits are a little like the mandatory routine maintenance and servicing performed on cars. The classic ‘stitch in time’ to save nine approach, nipping problems in the bud before they become downright hazardous.
Myth: Sensitive teeth always indicates major enamel erosion
Last up, tooth sensitivity is a common issue that can be caused by a variety of factors. One of which is the erosion of the enamel that protects of the surface of the tooth, which can be caused by brushing too aggressively or too often.
Other common causes of sensitive teeth include gum disease, gum recession and the use of OTC whitening products. Some people also experience sensitive teeth for no specific reason, despite having maintained excellent oral hygiene standards throughout their lives. The good news being that in all instances, effectively treating sensitive teeth has never been easier. Consult with your dentist or pharmacist for their recommendations on the best sensitive toothpastes and mouthwash products available.