Regular brushing and flossing should be an important part of everyone’s daily routine. But following the wrong dental care practices can cause irreversible damage.
Here, we debunk some common myths and misconceptions to help keep your mouth healthy.
Debunking 7 Dental Care Misconceptions
The following are some of the most common dental care misconceptions and the truth behind them.
1. Eating Sugar Results in Tooth Decay
Although both processed and table sugar can lead to cavities, the main culprit behind decay is actually mouth bacteria that feed on the sugar we consume. Foods containing sugar are generally starchy and sticky which allows bacteria to thrive on and around teeth. These bacteria then produce an acidic byproduct that wears away tooth enamel, increasing the likelihood of decay.
That doesn’t mean avoiding sugar protects us against tooth decay. Not flossing and brushing regularly (and properly) also increases your likelihood of developing cavities. Starchy foods also cause oral issues as they contain carbohydrates that form plaque which can turn into tartar when left untreated.
2. Flossing Increases the Space Between Teeth
Dentists recommend flossing as part of our oral health care routine as it helps prevent decay between teeth. However, there is a misconception that it causes gaps between teeth to become larger.
The aim of flossing is to remove food debris around gums and teeth. By getting rid of that, you also remove harmful bacteria and help ensure good oral health. Now, there is a chance that as soon as you start flossing that your gums may bleed. This is simply because your mouth isn’t used to being cleaned that way. With practice, the bleeding will stop and your teeth will be in better condition.
If the bleeding doesn’t stop, make an appointment with your dentist as you may be facing gum disease. Your dentist will provide proper guidance, including a treatment plan.
3. Babies Don’t Need Dental Check-ups
Some parents believe infants don’t need regular dental checkups because their adult teeth haven’t developed. This misconception can lead to serious dental problems and, in severe cases, structural damage. This is because if decay destroys your baby’s tooth, it won’t be replaced by a healthy adult tooth. Nor should children be made to suffer painful infections or cavities. By taking them to regular dental checkups, you can prevent your child from pain and avoid the damage and decay that can affect their gums.
Dentists recommend taking children to regular dental checkups as soon as their baby teeth emerge. This not only determines if their teeth are developing normally but instills good oral hygiene habits from a young age.
4. Whitening Damages Teeth
Dentists use a variety of safe teeth whitening techniques, as long as they’re performed by a professional or under the supervision of one. Home whitening kits are also available, but be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions on how to properly use them. By not doing so, or by using products you shouldn’t, you can damage enamel and cause irreversible harm to teeth.
5. You Should Rinse Immediately After Brushing
Do you rinse your mouth once you’re done brushing? Unfortunately, doing so gets rid of the fluoride that is working to remineralize the enamel on your teeth.
Toothpaste contains fluoride to ensure that enamel stays strong and hard to fight any plaque or acid that may be present in our mouths, even after we’re done brushing. This process takes around 15 minutes, which is far longer than the time we take to brush. Rinsing our mouths halts this process. That’s why it’s best to wait a couple of minutes after brushing before rinsing or consuming any liquids.
6. Bleeding Gums Are Nothing to Worry About
Bleeding gums, also known as gingivitis, is fairly common which is why it’s often overlooked. However, it can be a sign of degenerative tooth loss or underlying infection that should be treated promptly.
If you or someone in your family is experiencing bleeding gums, book a dental appointment immediately. Although a treatable issue, it can cause permanent damage if left unaddressed. Over time, it can lead to soreness, pain and tenderness in and around the mouth, making it too difficult to consume certain foods.
7. Root Canals Are Painful
While root canals are associated with immense pain, the fact is that the procedure is painless. This misconception could originate from the fact that the tooth needing treatment is most likely already causing pain. However, this pain can only subside once the treatment is complete. Fortunately, patients don’t need to worry as the procedure is generally performed under local anesthesia, making it completely pain-free.
Proactive dental care is your best defence against gum disease, tooth decay, and other threats to your oral health. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist for cleanings and checkups. Hopefully, this blog has cleared up any confusion you may have had regarding the truth. By educating yourself about oral care, you can prevent future problems.