It’s easy to take advice we’ve heard about taking care of our teeth as fact. But are the things you’ve heard—or practice in your daily oral care habits—true? Here, the top dental health myths are debunked to help you better care for your smile and have healthy teeth and gums!
Myth #1: Brushing Harder Is Better
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be harmed. In fact, brushing your teeth aggressively with a firm-bristled toothbrush can not only damage your tooth enamel, but irritate your gum tissue and could even contribute to gum recession. Be gentle when brushing your teeth, and always choose a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect both your tooth enamel and your gum tissue !
Myth #2: You Should Brush Right After You Eat
Brushing after eating sounds good in theory—after all, you just exposed your teeth to harmful sugars, acids, and sticky carbohydrates, so it makes sense that you’d want to get those off of your teeth, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Your tooth enamel is porous (which explains why certain foods and drinks can stain your teeth!), and while eating and drinking, it can become softer and more vulnerable. It’s best to wait 60 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating . Feel like your teeth need some cleaning after a meal? Drink plenty of water to flush harmful bacteria and food particles away!
Myth #3: Sugar-Free Is Better for Your Teeth
Some people think sugar-free foods or drinks have to be better for their smiles than ones that contain real sugar. Yet, this another myth! Sugar-free additives can still contain high amounts of acids and harm tooth enamel . While sugar-free alternatives can be helpful for people trying to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, don’t assume they’re better for your teeth!
Myth #4: You Should Remove Silver Amalgam Fillings
Intentionally removing an intact silver amalgam filling is actually more harmful than leaving it alone. Not only will your dentist need to remove some of your healthy tooth structure, but removing an undamaged amalgam filling can also expose you to more mercury throughout the removal process . If your amalgam fillings are damaged, you can discuss replacement options with your dentist, but if there’s nothing wrong with them, your oral healthcare professional will likely suggest to leave them alone.
Myth #5: Skipping the Dentist Is Ok If Your Teeth Aren’t Hurting
If it’s not broke, there’s no need to fix it, right? The truth is that many oral health problems progress slowly over time and don’t cause symptoms until it’s too late. Seeing your dentist for preventative care is so important, and can prevent many common oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease . So even if your teeth and gums appear to be fine, seeing your dentist can help prevent problems as you age and catch conditions such as oral cancer early!
Have Questions? Ask Your Dentist!
If you have questions about your oral care, your dentist is your best resource. Whether it’s time for a checkup or a dental cleaning, your dentist is your partner in your oral care so you can have healthy teeth and gums for life!