Does chewing gum substitute for cleaning teeth? Is diet soft drink good for your teeth? Dental myths seem to be ever present in society. Our minds are constantly filled with the influences of clever marketing, urban legends or even a slightly cunning older sibling! It seems that, in the field of dentistry, there are a LOT of myths that need busting!
So, we have set out to bust the most common dental myths. Nothing is spared, not even the beloved tooth fairy!
1. Brushing harder and longer will clean teeth better
Elbow grease is good for washing the dishes and scrubbing the floor, but not when it comes to your teeth. Excessive scrubbing over a prolonged period can wear away the precious enamel that protects your teeth. Enamel doesn’t grow back, so it’s important to protect it. Light brushing for 2 minutes twice a day is sufficient along with flossing and regular dental cleans by your dentist. See Dr Finkelstein’s teeth brushing guide >
2. You don’t need to clean baby teeth (milk teeth)
Just because baby teeth fall out and are replaced with adult teeth doesn’t mean they don’t need regular cleaning! Poor dental hygiene as a child will come back to bite you in adulthood. Teeth should be cleaned as soon as they appear in your child’s mouth and getting in the habit of a proper cleaning regime is one of the best gifts you can give a child.
3. White teeth equal healthy teeth
White teeth look great and there is no question they can make you feel great too. Teeth can discolour for many reasons and it is best to have your dentist get to the root cause of this change in teeth colour. Then your dentist is best placed to apply teeth whitening treatments to keep your teeth both healthy, wealthy and white.
4. Chewing gum can replace brushing your teeth
Sugarfree gums claim a lot of health benefits. It’s true that the act of chewing produces saliva which can help rinse away sugar and cavity-causing acids. But that’s where it ends. Brushing for 2 minutes twice a day with a proper fluoride based toothpaste will always be needed to keep your teeth clean and trouble free. Find out the benefits of fluoride on your teeth >
5. Always clean your teeth straight after eating
Almost a foolproof strategy! However, after eating, you need to wait for about 30 minutes before brushing. When you eat, extra saliva is created to help break down your food. This can leave your teeth a little soft for about 30 minutes after eating. If you brush immediately after eating you may cause damage to your tooth enamel. Instead, drink water or rinse your mouth with water immediately after eating to clear out sugar hungry bacteria from forming between your teeth. Understand how sugar decays your teeth >
6. Only see a dentist when you have a toothache
A toothache is a warning sign all is not right with your teeth. Yet a toothache could turn out to be a dental emergency or result in extensive and expensive treatment. Regular dental checkups every 6 months will help to avoid toothaches, pain and complex dental treatments. Win, win, win! See our top toothache warning signs >
7. Teeth whitening is dangerous to your teeth
Teeth whitening, if done correctly, is safe for your teeth and can provide a brilliant white smile. Many toothpastes and mouthwashes claim to have teeth whitening properties. These can only provide minimal whitening improvements due to their low levels of whitening agent (hydrogen peroxide). Teeth whitening treatments performed by your dentist can contain higher amounts and are more effective at whitening teeth safely.
8. Braces don’t work on adults
Wrong! Braces are suitable for people of all ages to straighten teeth. Many adults these days opt for clear retainers which are barely noticeable and can be taken off during eating and drinking. The technology behind clear aligners such as Invisalign enable dentists to accurately plan and predict an effective teeth straightening program. Learn about the benefits of having straight teeth >
9. Diet soft drinks won’t cause decay
It might make some logical sense to make the connection that diet (or sugar free) soft drinks may be OK for your teeth and also your waistline. However, these beverages usually have high acidity which is bad for teeth. So, if you must drink sugar free soft drinks, using a straw is best to minimise impact on teeth. Or, better still, water is always your friend when it comes to teeth-friendly drinks.
10. The Tooth Fairy is real
Last but not least, the Tooth Fairy. For someone who brings awareness to teeth and oral health at a young age; assigns a monetary value to teeth care along with bringing imagination and excitement to children; then there is no doubt that the Tooth Fairy is real, or at the very least has a mutual interest in the health of your teeth!