Common dental myths debunked
There are many common beliefs that have come into our everyday lives when it comes to dental health. It’s time to separate fact from fiction, so brace yourself, as we debunk some of the most common dental myths.
Myth: Sugar is the main cause of cavities.
While sugar will never land on anyone’s Top 10 List when it comes to overall health, and it can certainly lead to cavity formation, it is actually not the main cause of tooth decay. In fact, bread, crackers and potato ships may be even worse offenders, when it comes to dental health. Bacteria acid that results from sugar is the true culprit of tooth decay, and when we eat carbohydrates, which ultimately break down into sugars, the sticky residue gets lodged in the crevices of our teeth, producing acids that result in the formation of plaque.
It’s time to separate fact from fiction, so brace yourself, as we debunk some of the most common dental myths.
Myth: Teeth whitening damages the enamel.
Teeth whitening or bleaching often causes temporary sensitivity, which propagates this myth. Over-the-counter white strips, trays and paste contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which serve as oxidizing agents to remove stains on enamel surface, but generally contain less than 10 percent of these ingredients, which are considered safe. Overuse or misuse of these products can lead to enamel fragility, so directions must be followed to a T.
The safest way to whiten your teeth is under supervision at a dentist office, where you are assured safe application and support with any sensitivity issues.
Myth: You need to brush hard to clean your teeth.
In this case, the exact opposite is true. Brushing too vigorously with a firm or even medium brush can actually erode some of the enamel that shields the tooth surface from decay. Dentists always recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Myth: Flossing is overrated.
The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recently removed daily flossing from their recommendations based on a lack of strong evidence that support the practice in preventing cavities and gum disease. However, the American Academy of Periodontology noted that the current evidence may have fallen short because researchers had 1) weren’t able to include enough participants, and 2) didn’t examine gum health over a significant amount of time. Ask any dentist, and they will tell you that flossing helps remove tarter build up and removes food debris and particles from between the teeth that toothbrushes can’t reach.
Myth: Chewing sugar-free gum can make up for brushing.
Uhhhhh, no. While sugar-free gum, especially gum with xylitol, increases saliva production, which helps to rinse away eroding acids, it does not replace daily brushing and flossing.
Myth: Gum disease is only an indicator of oral issues.
If you fail to remove plaque with regular brushing, flossing and dentist appointments, it will aggravate and infect your gums. Left untreated, it becomes increasingly difficult, painful, and expensive to treat, and has been linked to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and premature births or low-birth weight babies.
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Posted In: Oral & Dental Health Tips