There are many myths and wives tails that people come to believe when it comes to the questions regarding our teeth. I hear them every day, so here is my attempt to clarify some of the most common dental myths:
MYTH: Brushing my teeth several times a day harms the enamel.
TRUTH: Usually, it is enough to brush your teeth two times a day, but if you have an opportunity to brush your teeth more frequently (for example, after every meal), use a soft or extra soft bristled toothbrush. Aggressive brushing with a hard bristled toothbrush can damage your teeth and gums.
MYTH: Using chewing gum after a meal can replace brushing and have the same effect.
TRUTH: Not really, brushing your teeth is much more effective in removing plaque and bacteria, but if you can not brush your teeth after every meal, you can use a sugarless chewing gum to clean your teeth and refresh your breath. Do not chew it for more than 10 minutes.
MYTH: I must not brush my teeth if my gums bleed.
TRUTH: When your gums are bleeding they are unhealthy. Bleeding gums should be brushed and flossed more often to restore their health. You should also contact your dentist.
MYTH: Placing a tablet of aspirin beside my aching tooth can ease the pain.
TRUTH: Aspirin does not work effectively for relieving toothache. It also damages soft tissues in you mouth. Therefore, it is better to use over the counter drugs or a prescription from your dentist.
MYTH: There is no need to see a dentist if there is no pain in my mouth.
TRUTH: You must see your dentist at least twice a year, no matter in what condition your teeth are at the moment. Most dental problems are painless, and do not begin to hurt until they have progressed into a more severe problem. It is always better to start treatment in the earliest stages.
MYTH: I will only get cavities if I eat a lot of candy.
TRUTH: All food causes cavities if it is not cleaned off the teeth, especially carbohydrates and sugars. Cleaning your teeth by brushing and flossing twice a day is the best way to protect your teeth from cavities
MYTH: Bleaching your teeth weakens them
TRUTH: Bleaching does not effect the structural integrity of your teeth. The side effect of too much bleaching is that it can make your teeth more sensitive.
MYTH: It’s OK to clean and whiten your teeth with over the counter baking soda.
TRUTH: It is actually very harmful, because sodium bicarbonate we use for baking (baking soda) has very strong abrasive effects and can damage your teeth and gums. If you want to whiten your teeth in an easy way, use special whitening toothpastes or over the counter whitening strips.
MYTH: There is no need to take care of baby teeth because they are going to fall out.
TRUTH: This is absolutely wrong from a variety of perspectives. First of all, baby teeth can remain until age 13. If you do not take care of baby teeth, they may fall out before the proper time and cause problems with bite or effect the development of your child’s permanent teeth. It is also necessary to start educating your children to maintain good oral hygiene later in life.
MYTH: It is necessary to avoid dental procedures during pregnancy.
TRUTH: Regular dental treatment must not be avoided by pregnant women. A healthy mother produces a healthy baby and vice-versa. There are also a lot of dental problems that are caused by pregnancy. There are only a few procedures that need to be avoided during certain trimesters of pregnancy so it is important to inform your dentist if you are, or plan to be pregnant.
MYTH: Any type of dental treatment is very painful.
TRUTH: Not anymore. Advanced dental technologies and local anesthetic agents allow dental treatment to be pain free in most cases.
MYTH: Only kids wear braces.
TRUTH: Most individuals including adults have tooth alignment problems. These problems can cause severe wear and damage to the teeth, joints, and muscles. Most adults and children should be seen by an orthodontist to avoid these problems.
MYTH: You need to see a dentist every 6 months.
TRUTH: Many patients especially those with a history of gum problems should be seen more than every 6 months (usually every 3-4 months). Your dentist will discuss with you the frequency you should be seen.