It’s a common belief that you don’t have to go to a dentist if you’re not feeling any dental pain, and that white teeth is an indication of healthy teeth. Well, that’s not entirely true – nor is the fact that you don’t need to floss. To get everything straight, here are 7 myths on dental care debunked. You should keep them in mind so that you can fully take care of your teeth and achieve that perfect smile!
White teeth mean healthy teeth.
One of the most common myths is that having whiter teeth means that your teeth are healthy. Your teeth may be white, but this cannot really show if there is an infection or cavities between the teeth. Plus, not everyone can achieve the pearly white teeth advertised in TV ads. The natural color of teeth varies from one person to another, and people with healthy teeth could have more yellowish teeth than another person.
Moreover, teeth naturally become a little discolored as one ages. This is also the case with teeth when they begin to break down. As such, tooth discoloration has been associated with unhealthy teeth – but, again, it is not always the case.
Bleaching is dangerous for your teeth.
Bleaching has been practiced by dentists for years now, and it’s no longer dangerous to your dental health.
Bleaching is a popular service being offered in recent years, given the availability of the technology that allows patients to get whiter smiles faster and safer. However, prior to 90’s, the raw materials used to bleach teeth were acidic and would actually break down enamel. Nowadays, the bleaching materials have a neutral PH and do not show any evidence of damage to the enamel or root of the tooth.
When you are bleaching your teeth, you are simply oxidizing your teeth using carbamide peroxide so that light refracts more favorably off the enamel. What can be dangerous is aggressively using high concentrations of whitening gels that can traumatize or shock the teeth. Prolonged use of bleaching could cause sensitivity, but once you stop using any bleaching solutions, traces of pain should go away naturally.
Beauty salons are excellent places to get your teeth whitened.
Contrary to popular belief, beauty salons shouldn’t be a place to go to when you want your teeth whitened. It is illegal for beauticians to offer tooth-whitening treatments, and it is solely done by licensed practitioners of dentistry. This means that tooth whitening can only be legally performed by a dentist, a dental therapist, dental hygienist or a clinical dental technician working on the prescription of a dentist. You also need to see a dentist before you see the other dental professionals to receive the treatment.
The rules are there to protect your teeth and gums. Dental medicine practitioners train for many years to understand the ins and outs of dental medicine, to recognize disease and to know what treatments best suit which patient and how to carry them out. The same is true with teeth whitening procedures. Professionals in tertiary hospitals or specialized facilities like Hamptons Dental use whitening gels and high grade equipment just to make sure that the whitening in your teeth is done right.
Brushing teeth immediately after eating is the best way to go.
Brushing your teeth immediately after eating can actually affect the enamel of your teeth. Surely, it’s tempting to grab your toothbrush and scrub away at your teeth straight after a meal to get rid of any food particles. In reality, this can be detrimental to your dental health as it can do more harm than good.
Foods containing citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits and lemons, weaken tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after eating them can damage the enamel in its weakened state.
If you really want to stimulate the sensation of brushing, it is more recommended for you to chew sugar-free gum – it stimulates saliva flow, cleans the mouth of food debris and neutralizes plaque acids. When you do get around to cleaning your teeth a little later, try not to be too aggressive with your brushing. Far better is to invest in a powered toothbrush that scientists have proven to be a better, kinder option for your teeth.
The more sugar you eat, the worse off your teeth become.
Surely, sugar is bad for your teeth, but it’s actually not the sugar that is hurting them. Bacteria in the mouth needs processed sugar to survive, but if you don’t consume sugar and have poor oral hygiene habits, you are still prone to the same decay. Also, if you eat a lot of processed sugars you are more likely to incur a certain amount of tooth decay.
Several species of oral bacteria feed on carbohydrates and produce acid as a byproduct through a process of simple fermentation. These bacteria live on the teeth in a biofilm called plaque. At this point, the acid slowly eats away at the tooth enamel, a thin layer of largely calcium that covers the tooth. The human tooth is in a constant state of mineralization and demineralization. Saliva helps neutralize acid from food to keep demineralization at a minimum. However, if the region gets too acidic, then demineralization takes over and rot sets in.
Nonetheless, maintaining oral hygiene through brushing and flossing regularly clears away food residue and starves the bacteria, keeping its growth in check. In the absence of brushing, the carbohydrates that linger the longest can cause the most damage.
Overall, the true cause of tooth decay is the combination of bacteria, sugar, and acid. Your gums can get irritated if sugar gets caught in between your teeth. It is important to brush or rinse after eating, especially after sweets, to get rid of the sugars and acids that can damage the enamel.
Flossing is not Important
Flossing is definitely important for oral health. Flossing is an extra step that a lot of people tend to skip after brushing their teeth which can lead to the buildup of bacteria. If you don’t floss, you are not cleaning almost 33% of the tooth surfaces that regular brushing can’t reach.
Brushing alone cannot clean the whole area around a tooth when there is another tooth beside it. Flossing completes tooth brushing by removing dental plaque and food debris remaining in the inter-proximal region (the area that is between two teeth). That region is a place where tooth decay commonly forms.
Also, if dental plaque that is found between teeth is not cleaned, it can eventually release bad odors from your mouth. This is a major reason why a person may suffer from bad breath (halitosis). In fact, Tooth decay and gum disease, also caused by dental plaque, are the usual source of a bad smell in the mouth.
“Fine”-looking teeth is enough of a sign to disregard your dentist appointment
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality does not apply to oral health; it’s mainly because you wouldn’t really know if something’s wrong with your teeth until you go to a dentist or when the situation has gone worse. This is why you should have your teeth checked up regularly.
Experts at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that adults should be called for check-ups, depending on risk factors including alcohol, tobacco use and diet. It is recommended to go to a dentist every three months for those who are at high risk of dental problems, and every two years for those with lower risks.
It’s wise to visit your dental team regularly even if you are not experiencing any problems with your mouth or teeth. Having your teeth checked regularly helps you and your dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and pain-free.