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6 Common Dental Health Myths

There are many misconceptions about what can and can’t affect your oral health. Some of the myths about brushing and flossing teeth, cavities, and sugar can have serious consequences on your teeth and gums if you mistake them as facts. Today we’re debunking some of the most common dental myths to help you keep your mouth healthy. 

Six Common Dental Health Myths Debunked

Myth #1: You Don’t Need to Floss Every Day

Many people believe that you don’t actually need to floss every day. However, daily flossing is absolutely necessary. Plaque builds up quickly, and it can harden into tartar in a matter of hours. You need to floss between your teeth every day to eliminate the plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach. 

Some people also believe that electric toothbrushes and water flossers can replace string floss. But just like a manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes cannot reach between the teeth. And although water flossers can help eliminate plaque, they can’t beat the power of string floss. 

Your dentist might recommend water flossers as an alternative if you are unable to control string floss due to arthritis or another condition. But otherwise, string floss is the most effective option.  

Myth #2: It’s Normal for Your Gums to Bleed

Healthy gums are pink and firm, and they should never bleed. Bleeding gums is typically a symptom of the first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis. When left untreated, the effects of gum disease become more painful and more severe, eventually resulting in tooth loss. 

Bleeding gums can also be a sign that you are brushing or flossing too hard, which damages your teeth and gums. If your gums bleed easily, contact your dentist for diagnosis and treatment. 

Myth #3: There Are Effective Alternatives to Brushing Your Teeth

Chewing gum and mouthwash may freshen your breath, but they are not effective alternatives to regular brushing and flossing. In fact, chewing gum that contains sugar can actually damage your teeth, because the bacteria that attack your teeth feed on sugar. 

And, any mouthwash that contains alcohol could dehydrate your mouth, causing a condition called dry mouth. Dry mouth increases the risk of tooth decay because without enough saliva to remove bacteria naturally, it can easily build up into plaque and tartar. 

There is no alternative to brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush. You can enhance your routine, however, by using alcohol-free mouthwash and chewing sugarless gum to help remove food particles in your mouth and prevent bad breath between brushing. 

Myth #4: Sugar-Free Sodas and Juices Are OK for Teeth

Just because something is sugar-free, it doesn’t mean that it’s good for you. Sugarless sodas and fruit juices are highly acidic, and they can still cause enamel erosion. If your enamel becomes weak enough, you may experience pain and sensitivity or develop a tooth infection. The best drink for your teeth is water, because it helps remineralize your enamel and washes away bad bacteria. 

Myth #5: Cavities in Baby Teeth Aren’t Serious

It may seem like cavities in baby teeth don’t matter because the tooth is going to fall out anyway. But cavities in baby teeth are just as dangerous as cavities in adult teeth. 

In fact, cavity-causing bacteria can actually travel below the gum line and affect the development of a child’s adult teeth, creating cavities before the teeth even erupt. Tooth decay can also cause baby teeth to fall out prematurely, which can cause complications such as shifting and crowding. Cavities in baby teeth should always be treated immediately.  

Myth #6: You Should Brush Your Teeth Immediately After a Meal

Regular brushing is crucial, but brushing your teeth too soon after eating can actually damage your teeth. Acidic foods soften your tooth enamel for a short time, and brushing soft enamel makes it wear down faster. It’s important to wait at least thirty minutes after eating before brushing your teeth, to give your saliva time to neutralize the acids and to let your enamel harden again. 

Family Dentist in Gilbert, Arizona

Believing any of these myths can put your oral health at risk. However, the compassionate team at Lifetime Family Dental can undo the damage caused by these misconceptions and restore your smile. If you’re due for a dental checkup or if you are experiencing any dental issues, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 480-558-4331 to set up an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/17/2023). Photo by Marius Christensen on Unsplash