Today more than ever, we need to be cautious about misinformation. This is especially true for dental myths, as doing the wrong thing for too long can cause damage to your teeth. No matter if the misleading information comes from the internet or old assumptions that are no longer true, it’s up to you to educate yourself on what is good for your teeth and what is harmful. Here are several dental myths busted that you definitely should know about.
REALITY: ONLY HEALTHY TEETH SHOULD RECEIVE WHITENING TREATMENTS
We all see shining white teeth in advertisements and in TV and movies. It only follows that many people equate white teeth with healthy teeth. While this is partly true, you really need to talk to your dentist before you try whitening treatments. Many patients should avoid using whitening products until their dentist approves them. Whitening products can actually increase issues like pain and sensitivity, and using them regularly can make untreated issues even worse. So before you consider those whitening strips or whitening trays, make sure your dentist gives their approval.
REALITY: YOUR DENTIST CAN TELL YOU HAVEN’T BEEN BRUSHING / FLOSSING WELL
This myth for many goes back to when they were a kid. Your mom told you to brush your teeth really well right before you went to the dentist, and you hoped that last minute brush would lead to a good check up. The reality is your dentist and hygienist can see through one good brushing and flossing session to your real habits. But unlike when you were a child, this is not a scolding. Your dentist recommends brushing twice and flossing once every day because it lessens the buildup of plaque and tartar, which leads to healthier teeth and fewer cavities. Keeping up with your brushing habits will keep your patient bills low as well. But no, you can’t make up for lost time by brushing “really good” before you go to the dentist.
REALITY: GENTLE BRUSHING IS BETTER
This next myth might be another one that develops in childhood. When your parents asked you to wash the dishes, scrubbing harder made sure all the stuck food came off the dishes. So it only follows that if you brush hard with your toothbrush, your teeth will get cleaner, right? Unfortunately this is not the case, and many patients end up doing damage to their teeth by putting too much “elbow grease” into brushing. The better plan is to back off the pressure and only gently push the bristles onto your teeth. Go easy and try to cover all areas of your teeth and gums with gentle pressure. Pair this with ultra soft bristles on a toothbrush, and you can avoid any harm from brushing too hard.
REALITY: FLOSSING IS STILL ONE OF THE BEST TOOLS TO PREVENT PLAQUE BUILDUP
Recently, publications like the NY Times ran the results of a study that concluded regular flossing may not help prevent cavities and other issues. While this evidence is certainly interesting, it is not a recommendation to give up flossing altogether. First off, any scientific study must be repeated many times over before it is accepted as fact. The results of this recent study were inconclusive, which is all the more reason to stick with the current guidelines of flossing once a day. Flossing remains the best way to remove plaque from hard to reach places, and the less plaque you have on your teeth, the better! So don’t give up on those flossing habits just yet!
You’re not alone in the fight to avoid dental myths. It is common for patients to come in and have misconceptions about their oral health. The best thing you can do is ask honest questions. Don’t be afraid to sound silly if you think you may be doing something wrong. Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry is committed to creating a friendly, judgment-free atmosphere. So just ask! You’ll be surprised at the outcome. Keep up with those checkups by scheduling your next appointment today.