Dental care is incredibly important and one would hope that we all know the truth behind some of the most common dental myths. Unfortunately, a lot of patients across the UK believe in them, leading to poor oral hygiene habits or avoiding the dentist altogether!
We’re here to clear up any misconceptions surrounding dental health and offer helpful advice on topics such as flossing and brushing, so you can better understand how to maintain a healthy smile.
Let’s take a closer look at those top five dental myths…
Myth #1: The harder and more times you brush your teeth, the better.
False! In fact, your teeth are much more likely to decay from excessive brushing than from infrequent brushing – this is true for both manual and electric toothbrushes. When you brush too hard, you are wearing down the outer enamel of your teeth.
This leaves them more susceptible to tooth decay, because the protective layer of enamel is the first line of defense against bacteria. Brushing twice daily is plenty for keeping your teeth clean and healthy, but it’s best not to pressure yourself into brushing after every meal, especially if you’ve eaten acidic foods.
Myth #2: You only need to floss if you have visible plaque between your teeth.
False! You should always floss to remove all food particles or any other matter in the spaces between your teeth, even if they are free of plaque. Plaque can begin forming on top of your teeth immediately after eating, so even the smallest amount of trapped particles (especially peanuts and other sticky foods) can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
If you cannot see the inside of your mouth, it’s likely that there is already a thin layer of plaque on top of the enamel in between your teeth.
Myth #3: Gum disease is not an important health concern.
False! Gum disease can affect anyone; it starts when bacteria attacks the soft tissue of the gums and creates an inflamed area, known as periodontitis. You may notice tenderness or pain in this area, and over time, the inflammation wears down to expose the root surfaces of your teeth.
As a result, gums recede from your teeth and pockets form around them. Eventually, dental implants, false teeth, or even your natural teeth may become loose, and your dentist will tell you that you have lost bone density.
Myth #4: You can use a regular toothbrush for years.
False! It’s best to change your brush every 3-6 months, or sooner if it is frayed or moldy. Toothbrushes wear out quickly, and this includes electric ones. Rotating the brushing head to provide equal wear on all bristles is also recommended. Replacing your toothbrush frequently ensures that bacteria from other family members are less likely to get transferred back to you during brushing.
Additionally, changing your toothbrush regularly makes sense because it will be more effective in removing plaque from areas of the mouth where, over time, food particles tend to get stuck between the teeth.
Myth #5: Chewing sugarless gum helps prevent tooth decay
Finally, the age old dental myth of chewing sugarless gum. Many people believe that this type of gum can actually help prevent tooth decay because it provides saliva in your mouth to eliminate food debris and plaque. This is however not true, as there are many types of sugarless chewing gums available on the market today, but none of them are going to be as effective as brushing or flossing.
Now that we’ve debunked the top five most common dental myths, if you have any questions or concerns about your oral health, then get in touch with the award-winning dentists over at Ten Dental.
We strive to provide the highest level of dental care and treatments to our patients, ensuring each visit is relaxing and enjoyable as we help you achieve a happy, healthy smile.