There is a strong correlation between oral health and overall health. So, if you value head to toe health, it’s important to practice good dental hygiene. The internet is full of remedies and dental hygiene tips, but it can be difficult to tell the difference between dental myths and facts.
Here are 5 of the most common dental care myths to look out for so you can maintain a happier, healthier smile.
Myth #1: White Teeth = Healthy Teeth
The saying, “never judge a book by its cover” applies to your dental hygiene too. Sure, pearly white teeth look nice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthy. Yellow teeth can be as healthy, if not more healthy, than ultra white teeth. After all, yellowing teeth are a natural part of aging. And, exceedingly white teeth can actually indicate excessive fluorides or a calcium deficiency.
Myth #2: Sugar Is the Only Cause of Tooth Decay
It’s no secret that candy, soda, juice and other foods that are high in sugar are bad for your teeth. But, unfortunately, cutting sugary foods out of your diet entirely won’t eliminate your chance of developing cavities or other dental issues that lead to tooth decay.
All kinds of food can lead to plaque buildup, the main cause of tooth decay. There are many ways you can reduce plaque:
- Avoid or limit certain foods and drinks that cause plaque buildup (sour candies, bread, potato chips, carbonated drinks, alcohol, etc.)
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss on a daily basis
- Visit the dentist regularly
If plaque is not removed by brushing, flossing or dental cleanings, it can harden into tartar – calcified (or hardened) plaque that forms below and above the gum line. And, if tartar isn’t taken care of, it can lead to receding gums and gum disease. Make sure you take proper care of your teeth to avoid more serious dental problems.
Myth #3: Gum Disease is Rare
The majority of people who have gum disease don’t even realize it, which might be one of the reasons why people think it’s so rare. In fact, around 47% of adults aged 30 years or older suffer from some form of gum disease, and this number increases to over 70% for adults 65 years or older. Regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist are the best ways to prevent any form of gum disease.
Myth #4: Grinding Your Teeth At Night Isn’t a Big Deal
Grinding your teeth at night is fairly common. However, over time, teeth grinding can cause a series of health problems. Tooth breakage, filling damage, muscle aches and jaw issues are just a few of the many side effects of teeth grinding. The Bruxism Association also found that people who grind their teeth are 3 times more likely to suffer from headaches.
The best way to protect your teeth from grinding is to wear a night guard (also called an occlusal splint, bite guard, etc.). If you’re experiencing the common signs of teeth grinding, talk to your dentist and they’ll develop a treatment plan customized to your needs.
Myth #5: Flossing Doesn’t Make a Difference
A recent report from the Associated Press questioned the health benefits of flossing. But, we’re still urging people to continue flossing their teeth. Even if you brush your teeth twice a day, there are places your toothbrush bristles simply can’t reach. Flossing is still the only way to dislodge all the nasty gunk (plaque, leftover food, etc.) stuck in between your teeth.
Regular flossing can help prevent tooth decay caused by the presence of acid-producing bacterial biofilm between your teeth. It can also help prevent gingivitis resulting from an immune system-mediated inflammatory response to this bacterial biofilm.
But, make sure you’re flossing the right way. If you notice your gums are bleeding, then you’re probably flossing too aggressively.
The right dentist will ensure you’re maintaining good dental hygiene and not falling victim to dental myths.