The world of dentistry, like everything else, is full of facts and full of myths. Knowing what is and isn’t true can help ensure that you take great care of your teeth. Here, we reveal the truth about five common dental myths.
- Eating too much sugar is bad for your teeth. This myth actually has a bit of truth behind it. The problem with sugar isn’t how much of it you eat. You can eat as much sugary foods and candies as you want. The problem with sugar begins with how long it sits in your mouth. If you eat sugary food and neglect to brush your teeth right away, the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugar and can damage your teeth. If you brush right away, there is no sugar for the bacteria, so there is no damage. Eat what you want – just make sure to brush right after.
- Brushing can be bad if your gums are bleeding. If you see red while brushing your teeth, your instincts might tell you to stop. After all, if the brushing is making your gums bleed, then you should stop brushing, right? Wrong! It’s not the brushing that makes your gums bleed, it’s the plaque and particles on the gum line that have irritated your gums, causing them to bleed when brushed. Brushing is actually going to help get rid of the inflammation by removing the buildup along the gum line. So, if you see red, keep brushing!
- Bleaching your teeth makes them weak. To put it simply, this is not true. Bleaching is not going to make your teeth weak. It only affects the color of your teeth. As long as you are following the directions, your teeth will be just as strong before and after bleaching. What bleaching can do, especially if you don’t follow the directions or overuse these kinds of products, is it can damage the enamel of your teeth. So, bleach away without worry about weakening your teeth – but adhere to the directions!
- You must brush your teeth immediately after eating. This may sound strange, but you don’t need to brush right after eating. In fact, if you do, you can actually wear down the enamel on your teeth. When you eat, your mouth creates acids to break down the foods. These acids temporarily weaken your enamel. If you brush right away, you are actually attacking the weakened enamel. So, instead of brushing as soon as you put your fork down, wait about 30-60 minutes, then brush. This gives the acids time to do their job and dissipate, so your enamel can strengthen back up.
You shouldn’t chew gum because it can lead to cavities. The truth is that chewing gum leads your mouth to salivate, which is actually good for your teeth. The saliva weakens the acids in your mouth, and it washes away food particles. Chewing gum isn’t going to lead to cavities or other damage, as long as you chew the right kind of gum. Opt for sugar-free gum every time.