In our last blog post, we tackled the all-too-common issue of dental anxiety and offered some tips to help our patients overcome it. Similar in spirit, we’re using this month’s blog post to dispel some myths about dental care that can negatively impact your health and wellness. Many of these are old wives’ tales, but some are also just good old fashioned (read: outdated!) advice. 

Empowering our patients with education is something our team believes in and that’s why we want to make sure everyone has the most accurate and up to date information required to optimize their oral health and overall wellness. 

Myth 1: Since my teeth don’t hurt, they must be healthy.

Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case. Dental problems often develop silently. Issues like cavities and gum disease can progress without causing pain initially. Regular dental check-ups are essential for catching these problems early, before they become painful and more difficult to treat. So, make sure you’ve booked your routine six-month dental cleanings. 

Myth 2: The harder I brush, the cleaner my teeth will be. 

In fact, brushing your teeth too hard can actually damage your enamel and cause your gums to recede. The key is to brush gently but thoroughly using a soft-bristled toothbrush for two minutes, twice a day.

Myth 3: I only need to visit the dentist if I have a problem.  

As we explained in our first myth, regular dental visits (every six months) are crucial for maintaining oral health. Dentists can detect issues early, perform professional cleanings, and provide preventive care that keeps your teeth and gums in top shape.

Myth 4: Sugar is the only cause of cavities.

Avoiding sugar isn’t enough to keep your teeth cavity-free. Yes, sugar does play a significant role in the formation of cavities; however, it’s not the only culprit. Any carbohydrate can contribute to tooth decay, including bread, fruits, and pasta. Many parents are surprised to discover that seemingly harmless snacks like saltine crackers or Goldfish can be just as bad as candy or sweets.  

Myth 5: Whitening my teeth will damage enamel. 

When done correctly, teeth whitening is safe and doesn’t damage your enamel. With so many products on the market, we advise our patients to rely on professional whitening treatments to ensure the best and safest results. At least be aware of the tooth whitening treatments you shouldn’t do for the sake of your oral health. 

Myth 6: No need to floss if I brush properly, twice a day.

This is a big misconception! Flossing is so important because brushing alone cannot reach the spaces between your teeth where plaque and food particles can get trapped. Flossing daily is essential for removing debris and preventing cavities and gum disease.

Myth 7: Dental cleanings will weaken my teeth.

The direct opposite, actually! Professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar that you can’t eliminate at home. This process helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, ultimately strengthening your teeth and preserving your oral health.

Myth 8: There is no need for children to visit the dentist until they have permanent teeth.

According to the American Dental Association, children should visit the dentist by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth erupting. Why? Early dental visits not only help prevent problems and establish good oral hygiene habits, they help your child establish familiarity and comfort with their dentist, which can go a long way to preventing dental anxiety. 

Myth 9: Chewing gum is a good substitute for brushing.

Although it is true that sugar-free gum can help increase saliva production and reduce acid in your mouth, chewing gum does not replace brushing and flossing. 

Myth 10: Oral Health Doesn’t Affect Overall Health

It is so important that people recognize the connection between oral and overall health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a host of serious conditions and negative implications like heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy and birth complications, respiratory infections, and stroke. All the more reason to take excellent care of your teeth and gums.

With this knowledge in hand, we encourage you to contact our office and ensure that your next teeth cleaning is on our calendar and yours!