By | Julia Olivas
Taking care of your oral health has been part of your everyday routine since you were a kid. Unfortunately, you may have also heard many myths when you were a kid, such as that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. While some things can sound believable, they’re actually not. Understanding the truth behind common dental health myths and misconceptions can help you take better care of your teeth to prevent gum disease and other illnesses associated with gum disease. Here are just some common dental myths and misconceptions.
1. Sugar Rots Your Teeth
Sugar is bad for you, and it’s always best to avoid sugar when possible. However, it doesn’t rot your teeth, but it does contribute to tooth decay. However, the sugar itself won’t rot your teeth. Instead, the bacteria in your mouth that eats sugar can cause tooth decay. Starches and sugary snacks attract bad bacteria that live on your teeth and gums and produce an acidic compound that results in tooth decay. Many foods contain starches and sugar, so it’s best to brush your teeth after meals to reduce the acid the bacteria produces and prevent plaque and tartar.
2. It’s Normal for Gums to Bleed
If you’ve ever flossed your teeth and noticed blood on the floss or in your mouth, you may have been told that it’s normal and happens to everyone every now and then. However, bleeding gums is not normal, and it means you have inflammation of your gums.
Your gums can become inflamed due to excessive plaque buildup, gingivitis, and even gum disease. As long as you’re using the right dental supplies and brushing and flossing correctly, your gums should never be bleeding. If you notice your gums are bleeding, you have some type of inflammation, and it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist, who can remove plaque and tartar that might be contributing to the inflammation.
3. Brushing Harder Removes Plaque
Brushing your teeth harder won’t actually remove more plaque or clean your teeth better. The harder you brush your teeth, the more likely you are to cause trauma to the tooth enamel and gum tissue. If you cause a sore in your gums, you invite bacteria to enter your body, which can cause gum disease. Brushing too hard can eventually lead to gum recession, so it’s always best to use a soft-bristled brush and not press down too hard. As long as the bristles are touching your teeth, they will be able to remove plaque.
4. Flossing Isn’t Necessary
Many people believe that flossing isn’t necessary because they brush their teeth twice a day every day. However, your toothbrush can’t reach every spot on your teeth, especially between the gums. Flossing can remove stains and plaque between your teeth and near the gum line to prevent tooth decay and inflammation.
Additionally, flossing removes any food that might be stuck in your teeth that can eventually decay and start causing bad breath. The only way to ensure you have a clean mouth and fresh breath every day is to floss every time you brush your teeth.
5. Chewing Gum is Effective for Cleaning Teeth
Chewing gum can help remove food between your teeth, but it’s not an effective replacement for brushing. While some chewing gum has been proven to promote cleaner teeth and fresher breath, they can’t clean your teeth as well as a toothbrush and floss. Additionally, many chewing gums cannot remove plaque.
6. White Teeth Means They’re Healthy
Most people assume that if their teeth are white, they are healthy. However, the color of your teeth may not predict their health. Teeth that are not white are typically stained or have plaque and tartar buildup giving them a yellower appearance. Simply whitening your teeth won’t remove any tartar, but it can remove stains.
If your teeth are stained due to coffee, you can treat them with a whitening kit at home, but if your teeth are stained because they’re unhealthy, you should seek the help of a dentist immediately. Whitening your teeth don’t make them healthier and can actually damage the enamel. Additionally, whitening teeth may remove stains, but it doesn’t treat the cause of the yellowing or discoloration.
7. Gum Disease Only Affects the Mouth
Gum disease starts in the mouth, but it can affect your overall health. Ultimately, the bacteria within gum disease can spread to other parts of your body. Inflamed gums, one sign of gum disease, are more likely to get cut when brushing or flossing, allowing bacteria to enter your bloodstream and other parts of your body. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, so it’s important to address gum disease as soon as possible to prevent it from causing other health concerns that affect other areas of your body.
8. How Often to See a Dentist
Many people believe they don’t have to go to the dentist because they’re not experiencing any problems. However, many oral health concerns can go on for months or even years undetected at home. While you can take a light and look in your mouth for signs of a cavity, only a dentist can diagnose and treat oral health concerns. The longer a health concern goes without being treated, the harder it will be to treat, so it’s always best to schedule a shift yearly to examine your mouth.
Additionally, your dentist’s office will give you a deep clean to remove tartar and stains that your regular toothbrush cannot, improving the health of your teeth and gums.
9. It Doesn’t Matter When You Brush
Many people believe they can brush their teeth any time of day. However, it’s always best to brush your teeth in the morning and at night. Brushing your teeth at night can help you brush away the day and remove leftover food and plaque that’s built up since the morning. Additionally, brushing in the morning removes plaque that builds up in your sleep.
Taking care of your oral health can help prevent other health problems from creeping up, so it’s important to brush twice a day in the morning and at night. Additionally, don’t wait until you have a problem to visit your dentist; continue to go to your yearly exams to ensure there are no problems you need to worry about.
Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, making art, and her pup Ruby.