Going for dental care is often a stressful experience for many individuals, which in turn has led to a number of myths about oral hygiene that can result in patients delaying their bi-annual checkup.
Many of the myths surrounding dental care are passed via word of mouth or popular culture and it can often be hard to distinguish what is true and what is made up. In truth, many of the myths surrounding dental care treatments can lead to serious issues with your oral hygiene and overall health. Let’s shed some light on some of those myths.
White Teeth are an Indication of Health
Just because your teeth are discoloured is no reason to think they’re unhealthy; even if you have a white and shiny smile, it doesn’t show if there are any infections or cavities between the teeth. It’s natural for teeth to be somewhat discoloured, and as we age, teeth break down naturally, which can cause some discoloration. If you feel this is cause for concern then seek out a dentist, but note that the colour of teeth does vary between people.
Teeth Whitening is Dangerous
If done in a professional environment, teeth whitening procedures are perfectly safe. When teeth whitening first appeared as an option in the early 1990s, many harsh acids and other chemicals that can strip enamel from teeth were used. Now whitening materials are pH-neutral and do not cause damage to the enamel and roots of the teeth. However, keep in mind that prolonged use of teeth whitening products can result in increased sensitivity.
You Shouldn’t Brush Bleeding Gums
Brushing your gums is an excellent way to prevent plaque from building up and prevent bleeding; plaque can lead to inflamed gums and eventually gum disease. If brushing your gums is causing irritation, try a brush with softer bristles and brushing at an angle.
A Lot of Sugar is Bad for Your Teeth
This dental care myth is partially true; the bacteria in your mouth need sugar to survive. However, eating large amounts of processed sugar will also result in a certain amount of tooth decay. And even if you consume little or no sugar but practice poor oral hygiene, you still may suffer from tooth decay.
To Relieve a Toothache, Place Aspirin Next to the Tooth
In order for aspirin or any other painkiller to be effective, it must first enter the bloodstream. So if you are suffering from a toothache, ingest the pill.
Flossing is Not Important
This is one dental myth you should not believe under any circumstances. Many people tend to skip flossing after brushing their teeth, which means they’re missing 33% of the tooth surface that brushing does not cover. The spaces between teeth can harbour bacteria, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and a variety of other serious issues. Along with brushing and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, flossing is one of the easiest ways to maintain good oral health.
Silver Fillings Don’t Need to Be Replaced
The debate about whether or not silver fillings should be replaced is ongoing, but it should be noted that silver fillings are 52% mercury and it can leach out over time; if mercury enters the bloodstream in even small amounts, it can cause a variety of health issues. If you have silver fillings, regular visits to your dentist can help you spot signs of breakdown and find out whether or not they will need to be replaced.
You Shouldn’t Use Mouthwash That Contains Alcohol
According to studies in the 1970s, there was a link between oral cancer and using alcohol-based mouthwash. However, it should be noted that many of the subjects were heavy drinkers and smokers, so this is yet another one the jury is still out on.
However, alcohol is unquestionably dehydrating and can result in the loss of the good ecology in the mouth known as your oral microflora.
Wisdom Teeth Serve No Purpose and Should Be Pulled
The overwhelming consensus is that wisdom teeth are vestigial organs that serve no purpose. However, this is not a reason to pull them as soon as your child enters adolescence; many patients hold onto their wisdom teeth through their entire life with no issues. Regular visits to the dentist starting at an early age can determine if your child’s wisdom teeth are going to cause any problems later in life.
At Princeview Dental, we provide oral care treatments in a safe, clean, and gentle environment at our conveniently located offices on the Kingsway in Etobicoke. We will answer any questions you have about oral hygiene and put your mind at ease.
Borelli, L., “Oral Hygiene: 6 Dental Health Care Myths That May Be Killing Your Pearly Whites,” MedicalDaily.com, October 10, 2014; http://www.medicaldaily.com/oral-hygiene-6-dental-care-myths-may-be-killing-your-pearly-whites-306697.