Did you know that President George Washington didn’t actually have wooden teeth?
That’s right. Your elementary school teacher was fibbing about the man who couldn’t tell a lie. His teeth weren’t made of wood—they were made of a combination of ivory, metal, and even human teeth that gave his smile a grainy, wood-like appearance.
But can you imagine what they would have looked like if they actually had been made of wood? Termite-infested, very stained, and a probably soft and rotting. Gross!
While this is an interesting fact, it doesn’t really do much in the way of changing the way you take care of your oral health. There are plenty of myths, however, that are pretty dangerous to your teeth.
At Dental Smiles at Dacula, we take patient education very seriously, because it’s the best way of keeping your teeth healthy and strong. So today, we’re here to debunk five common dental care myths in order to set the record straight.
Myth #1 – “My Teeth Will be Cleaner if I Brush Harder”
“Too much of a good thing is still too much.”
This applies to cookies, exercise, and yes, brushing your teeth. It may seem like a good idea to brush hard and aggressively to keep your teeth free of plaque, but in doing so, you’re actually putting your enamel, which is the hard surface of your teeth, at risk.
Brushing too hard can cause damage to your enamel and gums, especially after eating a meal. Your enamel is softer directly after eating a meal, which makes it more susceptible to damage.
If you want to make sure that your teeth are free of plaque and excess food particles, floss. Brushing your teeth twice or three times per day is enough, but it doesn’t hurt to floss after meals and rinse with water or mouthwash after meals. That way, you’re keeping your mouth clean without doing any unnecessary damage to your enamel.
Myth #2 – “A White Smile is a Healthy Smile”
This belief is common, and it does hold some truth. White teeth are a desired side-effect of healthy oral hygiene habits, but there’s really more to your dental health than that.
The shade of your enamel might be white, but it may be hiding cavities or decay beneath the surface. Conversely, slightly darker or dull teeth may look a little problematic, but they could be perfectly healthy.
Bleach kits, whitening procedures, and stain-removing toothpaste all help patients make their enamel appear bright and shiny, but if you want a healthy smile to go along with the pearly color, you need to brush, floss, and visit your dentist twice per year.
Myth #3 – “Baby Teeth are Just Going to Fall Out, So I Don’t Need to Worry.”
Your child has a whole new set of permanent teeth coming in, so you don’t need to be vigilant in caring for them, right?
Too many parents believe that it’s not a big deal if their child has unhealthy baby teeth, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When a baby tooth develops decay, the permanent teeth underneath the gums can be damaged as well. If baby teeth fall out too early, your child’s alignment may end up malpositioned and they could require corrective braces or even surgery later on.
Make sure you take care of your child’s teeth and gums throughout their entire lives. Healthy oral habits early in life increase the chances of the mouth staying healthy for a long time.
Myth #4 – “Everyone’s Gums Bleed from Time to Time”
It always amazes us here at Dental Smiles at Dacula that some people think bleeding gums are a normal occurrence. If another part of your body started bleeding when you scrubbed it, you wouldn’t ignore it and write it off as nothing serious, right?
Bleeding and sensitivity while brushing are huge warning signs of gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. And when gum disease doesn’t go away on its own. If you don’t treat it, gum disease can cause your breath to stink, your bite to shift, and your teeth to loosen or even fall out.
When you see even a little bit of blood in the sink, make an appointment with your dentist right away. The health of your mouth is on the line.
Myth #5 – “Sugar is the Primary Cause of Cavities.”
Now, before you jump up and run to the grocery store to buy up your favorite sugary treats and snacks, think twice.
While sugar isn’t the direct culprit behind cavities and tooth decay, it does play a huge rule. After chowing down on a piece of candy, the sugar molecules left behind in your mouth provide an all-you-can-eat feast for the bacteria that lives around your teeth. The bacteria feeds on the sugar and produces an acid waste, which forms plaque and tartar.
Plaque is the main offender here. Within the plaque and tartar are acidic compounds that attack your enamel. In turn, cavities and decay begin to form within the enamel and this weakens the structures of your teeth.
Have a Dental Myth of Your Own?
Surprised by some of these myths? You would be amazed by some of the other myths that our patients share with us. We’re always happy to clear the air and answer any questions to help patients remain healthy.
Are you unsure of a dental myth of your own? Let us know! We’re here to help you out.