You know it’s important to care for your teeth, but understanding exactly how to do that can be daunting. After all, there is a lot of misinformation out there surrounding oral hygiene. How can you tell what tips are factual and which are myths?
Fortunately, Bristol Dental Clinic is here to help. We’ll go over some of the most common—and harmful—dental health myths so you will know what not to do.
MYTH 1: Brushing your teeth harder will make them cleaner
This is one of the most widely believed myths. After all, brushing your teeth extra hard should be better for scrubbing away food residue and bacteria, right? Wrong. It may seem counterintuitive; however, forceful brushing does not make your teeth whiter, healthier, or cleaner.
In fact, you can actually do irreversible damage to your pearly whites. Brushing your teeth too hard risks damaging your precious enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to cavities and increased sensitivity.
MYTH 2: You really don’t have to floss (especially if you brush twice a day)
Brushing does not replace flossing—even if you do it twice a day! When you skip flossing, plaque easily builds up in between your teeth and along your gums. That’s because brushing cannot sufficiently reach these tricky areas. Flossing is the only way to remove food debris that gets trapped between the teeth after a meal. It’s essential for preventing cavities and tooth decay.
Pro tip: Floss your teeth before you brush them. Flossing loosens the food particles stuck to your teeth and your toothbrush, then clears them away.
MYTH 3: Tooth loss is genetic and unavoidable
Neither tooth loss nor good oral health is genetic. Your actions determine how healthy (or unhealthy) your mouth is. If you practice a rigorous oral hygiene regime, you are far less likely to experience dental problems like cavities and tooth loss. Conversely, tooth decay is sure to follow if you neglect your oral care. And tooth decay is the major cause of tooth loss.
With consistent brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, you can prevent tooth loss and enjoy healthy teeth for life.
MYTH 4: Healthy teeth are always white
Colour is not necessarily an indicator of the health of your teeth. Most people associate yellow teeth with poor dental hygiene. However, many factors can cause teeth to take on a yellowish hue. It’s also important to remember that the natural colour of teeth is slightly yellow because of the dentin underneath the enamel.
Some food and beverages (such as wine, tea, and coffee) can cause teeth to discolour. Ageing also often leads to a slightly yellowed smile. Genetics plays a factor as well.
Additionally, yellow teeth can be a sign that something is wrong. Smoking, for example, will turn your teeth yellow.
MYTH 5: Crowns and fillings protect against future tooth decay
Just because you have crowns or fillings does not make you immune to future tooth decay. You are still susceptible to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease if you neglect your oral hygiene. Consequently, you must take care of your crowns, fillings, and the rest of your teeth.
MYTH 6: Invisalign is a substitute for braces
It’s true that, in some cases, Invisalign can replace the need for braces. After all, both are used to correct misalignment in teeth. However, metal braces are better for treating complex orthodontic issues like crowding, protrusions, and irregular spacing.
Additionally, patients with certain health issues may not be able to use Invisalign. Ultimately, your orthodontist at Bristol Dental Clinic can recommend the best treatment options for your tooth alignment issues.
MYTH 7: Dental X-rays are dangerous
No, dental x-rays are not dangerous. They are perfectly safe and an essential part of modern dental care. X-rays can reveal tooth decay, gum disease, types of tumours, and injuries. In children, x-rays are taken to monitor the development of teeth and jawbones.
The radiation levels associated with dental X-rays are minimal, so there’s no need to worry! There is no risk to your health.
MYTH 8: Sugar damages your teeth and causes cavities
The commonly held belief is that sugar is the number one cause of tooth decay. However, this isn’t entirely true. Sugar does play a significant role in the formation of cavities, but acid is what actually causes your teeth to decay.
Your mouth is full of bacteria. When you consume sugary foods and beverages, the bacteria eats the sugar and carbohydrates. While doing so, it produces acid. This acid then attacks the enamel on your teeth, causing cavities to form.
When you brush your teeth, you are removing the sugar, bacteria, and acids that can wreak havoc on your oral health.
MYTH 9: Bad breath is a sign of poor dental hygiene
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is often blamed on poor oral hygiene. While this definitely can be the cause, it isn’t always so. Some individuals will continue to experience bad breath even if they brush, floss, and visit their dentist regularly.
Certain foods (such as onion, garlic, and particular spices) impact your breath. Dry mouth and some medications can also cause bad breath.
Moreover, halitosis can still be a sign that something is wrong. If you have gum disease, mouth sores, or tooth decay, your breath may take an unpleasant turn for the worse.
MYTH 10: You should brush your teeth immediately after eating
When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth turn the sugars and carbohydrates into an acid that eats away at your teeth. Consequently, you might think that you should brush your teeth immediately after eating to interrupt this harmful process. However, this is not the case.
Your teeth are most vulnerable right after a meal or snack. Those acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth weaken the protective enamel that covers your teeth. As a result, brushing can cause irreversible damage.
You should always wait 20-60 minutes to brush your teeth after eating. However, you can rinse your mouth with water. That will refresh your mouth and wash away some of the sugars and acids without harming your teeth.
Achieve Optimal Oral Hygiene in Mississauga
Visit us at Bristol Dental Clinic in Mississauga for all your oral hygiene needs! We offer a wide range of comprehensive dental hygiene and cleaning services to keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified and experienced hygienists.