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10 Common Dental Myths & Misconceptions

Arrows Showing True or False With FeetThere is so much advice available online on any given subject. Unfortunately, not all the advice you read is true. It might not be entirely false, but it can certainly be misleading. There seem to be many misconceptions out there about oral health. We hear them all the time! We’ll talk about some of the most common myths and misconceptions we hear and tell you what the truth is behind them.

1) Sugar Causes Cavities

Did a parent ever tell you no to candy citing the reason that you would get cavities? This is probably one of the most common dental myths there is. Many of us grew up hearing this and have known it to be true our whole lives. Did you know, it isn’t true? While sugar contributes in leading to cavities, it’s not the sugar itself that causes them. You see, sugar attracts bacteria. That bacteria produces an acid that causes tooth decay. So, it’s the acid-producing bacteria that causes the cavities, not the sugar itself. By making sure to brush and rinse after eating (especially sugary treats) you will be able to reduce the amount of acid-producing bacteria in your mouth, and therefore, prevent cavities.

2) Diet Sodas Are Not Harmful to Teeth Because They Are Sugar-Free

With the knowledge we just shared in the first myth, diet sodas act similarly. Even though diet sodas have no sugar, they are highly acidic. Diet soda has a pH level of about 2 to 3. For a frame of reference, water is neutral at a pH level of 7. Battery acid has a pH level of 0. So, your sugar-free soda falls closer in line with battery acid than it does water. Oof! This acid can eat away at tooth enamel, which can cause sensitivity and cavities. Even worse, since it’s common to slowly sip on a drink throughout the day, these acids tend to remain in the mouth for longer periods of time.

3) The Harder You Brush Your Teeth, The Cleaner They Are

It would seem the harder you scrub something, the cleaner it gets, right? Well, when it comes to oral care, wrong. When you do not brush gently, you risk damaging tooth enamel and gum tissue. Both of which can lead to further problems in the future. Take it easy.

4) Flossing is Optional

This popular misconception is evidenced by the fact that only about four in ten Americans floss their teeth daily! Did you know that flossing removes up to 80 percent of plaque? Plaque leads to tooth decay, so getting rid of plaque by flossing is integral to your oral care routine.

5) It Is Normal for Gums to Bleed

The reason gums bleed while brushing or flossing is inflammation. This inflammation is generally caused by excessive plaque buildup, gingivitis, or gum disease. None of which are healthy causes. So, it is not normal for your gums to bleed. If you are experiencing bleeding gums, please reach out to us to get to the root of the cause.

6) Chewing Gum Can Be Substituted for Brushing Your Teeth

Many chewing gum brands advertise cleaner teeth and better breath. They can help keep your teeth cleaner in the short-term and in between meals. However, they are no substitute for cleaning your teeth properly by brushing and flossing at least two times a day.

7) If Your Teeth Are White, It Means They’re Healthy

Everyone loves a bright beautiful smile. While a bright white smile certainly appears healthy, whiter teeth are not always healthier teeth. Over time, teeth can become discolored through staining or damage. There are several whitening products on the market that can remove stains from teeth, but they do not address any underlying causes such as damage. If you would like a whiter smile, you should discuss with your dentist to be sure to treat any issues that could be causing your smile to not be as bright.

8) You Don’t Need to Worry too Much about Baby Teeth

Oral health in children is essential. Those little baby teeth provide the necessary space for permanent teeth to line up under the gums and grow in properly. If baby teeth are not cared for properly, leading to decay and cavities, children could lose their teeth much sooner than they should. This disrupts natural space maintenance. Poor oral health early on can also lead to poor oral health later in life, which can lead to more severe and expensive dental issues.

9) My Oral Health Has Nothing to do with my Overall Health

Your oral health is a good indicator of your overall health. A mouth with severe tooth decay or gum disease is more likely to cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and result in other issues. Poor oral health has been linked in studies to heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. So, be sure to pay attention to your oral health as part of your overall health.

10) I don’t need to go to the dentist unless I have a problem.

As mentioned above, your oral health affects your overall health. Prevention is better than cure, and it is certainly easier and less expensive. A dental exam is the best way to spot trouble before it starts. So, even if you aren’t experiencing a problem, we still recommend seeing a dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and exams.

Whether you need to get better about preventative care, or if you are experiencing problems with your oral health and need help getting back on track, we’d love to help you!  Request an appointment!