Proper overall oral care is important to leading a healthy lifestyle, but there are a lot of dental myths floating around the Internet and through word-of-mouth that can make it difficult to know if you’re doing everything properly. Obviously, the best source of dental care information is always going to be your dentist so you should definitely ask them any questions you may have about your oral health. But for those times when you’re not at the dentist and need a quick answer, you can refer to this article.
For your convenience, here are the top eight dental myths you should know about.
Myth #1: Brushing Hard Cleans Your Teeth Better
While brushing your teeth on a regular basis—twice a day—is critical to maintaining excellent dental care, brushing too hard can have detrimental effects on your teeth. Brushing too hard can damage the protective layer of enamel on your teeth. Damaged or eroded enamel is the gateway to a host of other dental problems like sensitive teeth, plaque buildup, and bacterial infections inside your teeth. Don’t forget tooth enamel is irreplaceable and can’t be replenished. In other words, once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
As a word of advice, avoid using hard bristled toothbrushes and don’t press down too hard when brushing your teeth. Instead, opt for soft bristled toothbrushes as recommended by your dentist and try not to apply any pressure when brushing your teeth.
Additionally, you should refrain from brushing your teeth side to side. The proper tooth brushing technique is to brush top to bottom for your upper teeth and bottom to top for your lower teeth to prevent gum recession.
Myth #2: Flossing Is No Longer Necessary
It’s unclear how this particular dental myth got started, but it’s not true. Flossing is arguably one of the most essential components of your daily oral care routine because it removes plaque and stuck-on food particles from parts of your mouth that are virtually unreachable by brushing alone.
Modern technology has made flossing easier than ever. From devices that squirt water between your teeth to mechanical devices that have vibrating picks attached, you now have more options to take the hassle out of flossing. Or, if you prefer, you can stick to the classic mint flavoured string floss. Regardless of your flossing preferences, it’s recommended that you floss a minimum of once a day before going to bed or between every meal if possible for optimal oral health.
Myth #3: Pregnant and Nursing Mothers Should Avoid the Dentist
Actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although certain procedures that require local or general anesthesia or other sedatives should be avoided during pregnancy and nursing, it’s still important to visit the dentist every six months for your regular checkups. In some instances, your dentist might even recommend more frequent visits to examine your oral health.
During and after pregnancy, your body is enduring a lot of physical and hormonal changes that can actually impact your oral health. Some women may even experience mild to severe tooth decay and tooth loss during this time due to these hormonal changes. Keeping up with your dental visits can help you stay on top of these issues.
Myth #4: Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Can Replace Brushing Your Teeth
When it comes to your dental health, nothing can replace brushing your teeth, least of all chewing sugar-free gum. While sugar-free gum is a somewhat better alternative to traditional gum which is packed with sugar, it still contains other sweeteners like aspartame and xylitol. Sugar-free gum shouldn’t be used as a replacement for brushing your teeth.
Myth #5: If Your Gums Bleed while Brushing or Flossing, Leave Them Alone
Bleeding gums are a strong indicator of a lack of a proper oral health routine. It usually means your gums are inflamed due to lack of flossing. When you don’t floss your teeth properly or at all, food particles tend to get stuck between your teeth. Eventually, those food particles break down and form plaque and tartar, which are a massive breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria. This can lead to gum infections, bone loss and cavities.
Symptoms of cavities can include sensitivity to hot or cold substances or pain while chewing. If your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, you should visit your dentist so they can examine the severity of the situation. They’ll most likely give you a specific at-home dental care plan that includes flossing and brushing. If you’re already starting to form cavities, then you may need to get fillings as well.
Myth #6: Gum Disease Is Only an Oral Health Issue
In fact, gum disease has been linked to several other health problems like heart conditions, diabetes, hypertension, oral cancer, and even chronic inflammation throughout your body. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis will help identify these potential issues well in advance so that you can seek out the necessary treatments.
Myth #7: You Should Only Visit the Dentist if Your Teeth Hurt
For reasons that have already been mentioned, you should visit the dentist at least once every six months or more frequently if your dentist recommends it. Regular dental checkups and cleanings provide a great opportunity for your dentist to thoroughly examine your dental and oral health to ensure that everything is as it should be. During your regular checkup, your dentist will be able to spot early signs of potential oral or overall health problems and administer or recommend the appropriate treatment. If necessary, they might even refer you to certain specialists who have specific medical or dental expertise.
Myth #8: Root Canals Are Painful
As unpleasant as root canals can be, your dentist will usually administer a local or general anesthetic to numb the area and ensure that you won’t feel any pain or other sensations during the procedure. The amount of anesthesia depends on your personal pain threshold and the severity of the infection.
Are there any other dental myths that you’re concerned about that weren’t mentioned here?
If you have questions, make an appointment for a cleaning or checkup at Princview Dental Group. We’ve been proudly serving The Kingsway neighbourhood in Etobicoke for over 20 years and are always happy to take on new patients. Contact us today!