Busting 9 Myths & Misconceptions About Dental Health
Posted: May 1, 2020
Last Modified: March 19, 2021
You’ve likely heard about brushing and flossing twice each day (or at least, we hope you have), but have you heard the one about chewing gum? There are all kinds of myths floating around out there about home dental hygiene and the shortcuts you can or can’t take to look after your teeth. Today, we’re going to examine nine of the most common ones and provide you with the truth behind the myth.
1. “Only sugars cause tooth decay.”
There’s no question that sugar causes tooth decay, but it’s not the only culprit out there. Cavities are caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. As the bacteria in your mouth break down sugars, they create acid, which gets trapped in plaque and slowly eats away at your tooth enamel. However, acids can also be found in sugar-free foods, like diet soda, which means you need to be careful about consuming them. When in doubt, water is always the best choice for a refreshing drink.
2. “Bad breath means you have gum disease!”
Bad breath can certainly be an indicator of gum disease, but it isn’t always. The best way to be sure is to pay your dentist a visit. They’ll be able to examine your mouth and assess the state of your oral health. If it’s not gum disease or indicative of tooth decay, bad breath can also be a symptom of acid reflux or some other kind of digestive issue.
3. “Bloody gums are normal if you’re pregnant, so you can ignore them.”
It’s true that some individuals who are pregnant experience what’s known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” it doesn’t happen for everyone. Even if you do notice that your gums are bleeding and you happen to be pregnant at the time, it’s important not to ignore them. Maintain good dental hygiene at home through daily brushing and flossing, and if the problem persists, consult your dentist for advice.
4. “You don’t really have to go to the dentist unless your teeth hurt.”
Pain is a good indicator that you need to see your local dentist, but it’s not the only reason to go. Some forms of tooth decay can be asymptomatic, which is why it’s recommended to visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning at least once every six months. Taking preventive action is one of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy.
5. “I don’t have to worry about my teeth until I get old.”
Age has only a minor influence on the health of your teeth. Young adults can actually have worse oral health than seniors if they neglect dental hygiene. If you take care of your teeth now, you’ll have better oral health for the rest of your life, and you’ll reduce the chances of needing dentures or other reconstructive treatment later.
6. “My teeth are white, so they’re perfectly healthy.”
Just because your smile looks bright doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Gum disease and tooth decay aren’t necessarily obvious to the untrained eye, and there are plenty of complications that can lurk just beneath the surface of your teeth.
7. “It’s not that important to brush and floss every single day.”
Practicing good dental hygiene on a daily basis is arguably the single most important thing you can do for your oral health. Dentists don’t recommend daily brushing and flossing just because it’s fun to say – they’ve spent years learning about how to keep teeth and gums healthy, and they’re recommending this activity because it’s the best way that you can look after your mouth.
8. “People only get cosmetic dentistry treatment because of vanity.”
Cosmetic dentistry doesn’t just mean teeth-whitening. It can include repairing a tooth and realigning a bite, which, yes, looks good when the treatment is finished, but these also help improve your oral health and can reduce jaw pain from improper alignment or damage.
9. “Plaque sticks to sugar-free gum, so I can just chew a piece instead of brushing.”
It’s true that sugar-free gum can help collect stray food particles, but it’s not even close to replacing brushing in your daily dental hygiene routine. Brushing provides a host of benefits, like gum stimulation and plaque removal, that chewing gum doesn’t even come close to offering. Enjoy your sugar-free gum during the day, and brush (and floss!) well in the morning and evening.