Sometimes to care for our oral health we choose to believe in the myths rather than find out the truth about them. But when it is about your dental health, having the wrong information can be extremely dangerous. Here we unravel the truth behind some of the common dental myths, some of which you may have even believed yourself:
- It is mandatory to brush your teeth immediately after a meal.
- Fact: Sugars in your food release acids. These acids soften the topmost layer of the tooth called the enamel that protects your teeth. According to a recent study, the enamel hardens only after 40 – 50 minutes after a meal has been consumed, and one should brush only after that as it is the apt time for brushing your teeth. Brushing before this time may lead to wearing off of the enamel which can lead to sensitivity to heat and cold.
- Using a dental floss is not required.
- Fact: Brushing only cleans 65% of your teeth surface and mouthwashes cannot reach all teeth areas. Brushing together with a dental floss help us reach the most difficult to clean surfaces of teeth such as the contact areas and hence aid in maintaining oral hygiene and prevent dental decay. Mouthwashes can be used between meals to keep your mouth clean.
- I need not see a dentist until my tooth will ache!
- Fact: The most common myth of all, a regular dental check-up every 6 months is very important to ensure proper dental care. An early tooth decay, gum disease, etc. can be identified even if symptom-less, only if you visit your dentist regularly. The diseases of the gums can cause bone loss and subsequent tooth loss, which hardly comes under the notice of a layman. Hence, make it a point to visit your dentist every 6 months to prevent a bigger consequence. This way you can prevent the necessity of wearing a dental prosthesis.
- Stop cleaning your teeth if your gums are bleeding.
- Fact: Bleeding gums are an absolute sign that you need to visit your dentist soon as bleeding gums imply that either you are not properly cleaning your teeth or due to a disease is hidden behind of which bleeding gums is a symptom. It usually happens when over a time bacteria and plaque remain stuck in between our teeth & a toothbrush doesn’t reach properly. Over a time, the bacteria multiply and inflames the gums of which bleeding is a part. Only a qualified dental surgeon can tell the reason behind the problem, hence a visit to your dentist is a must if you notice bleeding from your gums.
- Brushing with a hard brush will keep my teeth cleaner.
- Fact: Brushing with a hard or medium or brushing using excessive forces actually strips your teeth off of the hard enamel that is required to protect the soft tissue pulp inside the tooth from caries and trauma.
- Placing an aspirin tablet on your tooth soothes the pain.
- Fact: Aspirin readily reduces pain only if you consume it, but when you place the tablet on the tooth, aspirin irritates the soft tissues and will only cause trauma to you.
- Baking Soda is safe to use for whitening the teeth.
- Fact: Baking soda severely damages the teeth by destroying the enamel, which is the topmost layer of the tooth. Whitening toothpaste to contains abrasive particles, which can cause damage. Thus, if you want to get your teeth whitened, you should visit a specialist instead of experimenting with yourself.
- Gum disease is only a problem for your mouth.
- Fact: The first one to notice an underlying disease can only be your dentist if you have a gum disease as it is very likely that you may be having diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, also certain types of cancers which can be related to chronic inflammation.
- I need not brush if I am Chewing a sugar-free gum.
- Fact: this would have been a blessing in disguise for children around the world, only if it were true! Sugar-free chewing gums with xylitol, have a protective effect on the teeth as it encourages saliva production, which helps in washing away the enamel-decaying acids produced from foods & drinks, and also the acid produced in the stomach in cases of gastric acid reflux. But, that doesn’t mean that chewing gum can replace brushing and flossing as when it comes to cleaning plaque and tartar from all the surfaces of your teeth nothing is compared to what a brushing & flossing regime can do for you!
- If I cut off sugars, cavities won’t be a problem for me.
- Fact: The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of cavities, is sugars such as candies, lollipops, chocolates, etc. But, chips & biscuits are equal culprits. Carbohydrates, in general, have sugars which in conjunction with bacterial build-up break down the tooth structure in forms of dental decay.
About the Author:
Dr. Madhvi Nagpal and her team of doctors has been practicing dentistry in New Delhi, India for the last 12 years. They use the latest equipment and materials in the dental treatments and follow the latest trends in dentistry. She has treated over 100 thousand patients during her practice & is an experienced dentist with a specialization in Dental Implants.