Debunking Common Myths About Oral Health - KRB Dentistry
  • Sep 6, 2023

Debunking Common Myths About Oral Health

Your dental hygiene and oral health are essential to maintain. Unfortunately, due to misinformation and confusion, many people hold on to myths about oral health. Let’s jump into the most common myths about oral health – and debunk them!

 

Common Myth #1: White Teeth are Healthy Teeth

Whiter teeth actually don’t have anything to do with oral health! You could have really white teeth, but a ton of cavities- in that situation, your oral health wouldn’t be up to par. But since having whiter teeth is so sought after, let’s talk about the use of over the counter whitening products. Before delving into whitening products, it’s important to discuss what options are best for you with your dentist. Using whitening products when your gums are inflamed can greatly worsen your condition. Also, using whitening products when you have existing cavities (most people have no idea if they have cavities when they don’t see a dentist!) or receding gums can greatly increase your tooth sensitivity and pain. So, first of all, make sure both your gums and teeth are healthy before attempting to whiten your teeth on your own! Secondly, make sure that any whitening products that you use at home are not abrasive to your teeth. Products like charcoal-based (or other abrasive) toothpastes or toothbrushes greatly wear away the enamel over time. Enamel doesn’t grow back, so be careful! It is better to use dental “bleach” or peroxide-based products that sit on enamel without destroying it. Again, discuss the products you plan to use with your dentist- if you have exposed dentin, over-the-counter whitening products may not be the best option for you!

 

Common Myth #2: Brushing Harder is Better

Some people think that brushing your teeth harder is best to achieve oral health -but the truth is, though you might be doing a good job at removing food/plaque, brushing hard or using a rough toothbrush over time can strip away your enamel and cause your gums to recede! Both of these things are irreversible and cause a lot of sensitivity or pain!

Be careful and gentle with your teeth and your gums – they’re more delicate than you think! As long as your technique is good, there is no need to brush your teeth with too much force. Using your toothbrush should require about the same force as holding an orange- so not much force at all! Here’s a video on how to brush your teeth properly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdjmGxq-X7M&ab_channel=Dentalk%21

 

Common Myth #3: Oral Health Only Affects Your Mouth

Some people neglect their oral health with the misconception that it only affects their mouth and their teeth. There are people who will exercise, eat healthily, but neglect to floss because it is not a high priority for them. Neglecting to floss and/or brush is the number one cause of periodontal disease. Studies have shown that those with periodontal disease (progressed, untreated gingivitis with bone loss) have a greater risk of having cardiovascular disease.

Your whole body’s health is connected. Don’t neglect a single part of it!

 

Common Myth #4: Bleeding Gums are Normal

Bleeding gums are not normal! The #1 reason for bleeding gums is gingivitis (inflamed gums) or periodontitis (inflamed gums with bone loss). First, make sure you are getting a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year. If you do this and are still having bleeding gums, try to improve your brushing technique, making sure to brush twice a day (especially at night) for 2 minutes and floss at least once a day before going to bed. Your teeth should feel glassy smooth- if there are any rough or bumpy areas, your teeth are not as clean as they should be! If your teeth bleed when brushing or flossing, it means food/plaque has been stuck there for a while and is causing inflammation. In either case, just keep up your hygiene and the bleeding should stop in a few days. If not, let your dentist know.

 

Common Myth #5: Flossing is Unnecessary

People often think that brushing thoroughly is enough to keep up their oral hygiene. Flossing cleans the spaces between your teeth that a brush often can’t reach. It helps prevent cavities from forming in between your teeth and prevents gingivitis and periodontitis. Flossing is just as necessary as brushing – make sure you do both!

 

Common Myth #6: No Tooth Pain= Healthy Teeth

People often assume that if you don’t have any tooth pain, there is nothing to worry about. That’s not the case! Cavities are holes in your teeth that grow with time, and as they grow, they get closer to the nerves inside your teeth, which causes pain. Sometimes, even if your cavity is close to your nerve, you still might not feel it! But if the cavity enters into your nerve, your tooth is then infected, and then instead of needing just a small filling, you may now need a root canal and a crown. If you wait too long, you may end up losing the tooth altogether. Fixing a cavity when it is small is much quicker for you, less painful, less problematic, and much less expensive! In fact, if you take care of a cavity when it is small, you may not even need to get numbed to get it taken care of! Make sure you get your regular dental checkups twice a year so that you can be aware of problems in their early stages.

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