Don’t Believe The Hype! Dental Myths and Their Refutations

If you do not know any better, you will believe some of these outlandish claims that float around disguised as colloquial wisdom. We might believe them because they come from a person we respect, or because it sounds reasonable. But they are wrong.

Do you have to brush after every meal? Is there really nothing to be done if you inherit bad teeth? In the column below, we pull the veil of respectability off of these and other dental myths.

Forgot your toothbrush? Just chew some gum!

While gum can remove plaque, and increases saliva, which causes greater lubrication and remineralization of the tooth surface, it is by no means a substitute for brushing your teeth. It will do in a pinch, but only to hold you over until you get a chance to brush them.

The harder you scrub, the better!

Being thorough with your at home oral care is important, but the emphasis should not be on force. If you are too rough, you can damage your enamel and your gums. The gums can thus recede, exposing the teeth. They will become sensitive, and can even start to bleed. Choose toothbrushes with softer bristles, with a small head, and use proper technique; round strokes starting from the root towards the crowns.

You can read more about tooth brushing techniques here

Sugar and chocolate are the only problems!

The problem is not with sweets, it is worth certain chemical compounds within them. Sour and vinegary foods have bad compounds, too, as does soda and certain fruits (particularly citrus fruits), and all of these will damage your enamel.

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Change my toothbrush? When the bristles stick out!

Incorrect. You should change your toothbrush every 8 weeks, and there are several reasons why. Toothbrushes lose their capacity to clean drastically after 12 weeks. Wet toothbrushes are where bacteria like to live, too. If you were sick, you should change your toothbrush immediately, because you may reinfect yourself.

Dental treatment is supposed to hurt

A lot of people do not go to the dentist because they think that dental treatments are supposed to hurt and be uncomfortable. Today, there are a bunch of ways to get around this. Dentists use modern technology, pain medication and local anaesthetic to make sure you do not suffer needlessly. There may be some pain, but it is much less than if you stay at home and do not go to the dentist ever.

Pregnant women can’t get anaesthetic

Modern anaesthetics do not have teratogenic compounds in them anymore. If you are pregnant, and need to get work done, and you are over the phase where you have morning sickness, then there is nothing standing in your way. If you are sensitive to certain medications or have allergies, then you may not be able to get pain medication or anaesthetic, pregnant or otherwise.

Fluoride is always good for your teeth!

It is true that fluoride makes teeth harder and healthier, but less is sometimes more. When teeth are developing, and too much fluoride enters the system, the teeth may have splotchy white spots on them. These will turn brownish, and nothing, not even the dentist can help you. The spots can be covered up later on with cosmetic dentistry, but it is easier to prevent it. Buy fluoride free toothpaste for your kids, only give them fluoride once the permanent teeth are visible.

I’ll go to the dentist when my teeth hurt

Toothaches can be caused by a number of things; bad toothbrushes, infections, gum recession or swelling, etc. By the time pain is apparent, the problem has become severe, and a filling or a hygiene session will not be enough, and you may need to get a root canal treatment. This is why you need to go to regular checkups, to prevent these situations from occurring.

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