Brush your teeth after every meal. Floss at least twice a day. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not a cavity. Sugar can destroy your teeth so drink fruit juice instead.
You’ve no doubt grown up hearing a few – if not all – of these dental dictates from your mom, dad, or childhood dentist. We’ve been conditioned from a very young age to brush our teeth three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner), floss in between meals (if we can help it) and stay away from solid sugar. The people who don’t listen often come to regret it later on in life, when they’re paying for expensive veneers or root canal.
But what about the people who do follow a healthy dental routine? How come there are still the unlucky few who experience brittle teeth, sensitive gums, chronic halitosis (colloquially known as bad breath) easily-chipped teeth, and other dental problems despite sticking to general dental care? Certainly there are a few factors you’ll have to consider – like genetics and calcium deficiency and caloric intake – but here’s the plot twist of the day; what if all those dental do’s-and-don’ts you’ve been hearing were actually untrue?
Don’t panic. You weren’t lied to – you were misinformed. Now that science has caught up and researchers have decided to do a little myth-busting themselves as far as the dental department goes, here are some common dental-care tips … debunked, and thank you to our dentists for helping with this info!
MYTH #1: BRUSH YOUR TEETH IMMEDIATELY AFTER EVERY MEAL
While brushing your teeth after every meal is the right thing to do, you – and a couple hundred thousand other people) have probably been going about it the wrong way.
TRUTH: Brushing your teeth within thirty minutes of finishing a meal can do more harm than good. It can weaken tooth enamel, especially if you’ve had something acidic (think oranges, citrus-y fruits, and soda), and leave your teeth vulnerable to chipping.
If you really want cleaner, stronger teeth, invest in some sugar-free gum. Chewing gum stimulates saliva production – the natural mouth cleaner. It gets rid of debris and neutralizes plaque build-up. Best part? It’s not acidic, so your teeth enamel stays safe.
MYTH #2: ONLY KIDS CAN GET BRACES
It’s not so much a dental myth as it is an accepted fact of society. No one looks good sporting the dreaded brace-face. Parents just force their kids to wear it because it’s easier to just get it over and done with earlier on in life. If you’re an adult and your teeth are crooked, you may feel as though braces are no longer an option for you.
TRUTH: More and more adults are looking into orthodontic procedures to help correct malocclusions and other dental issues. Yes; veneers, crowns, and “invisible” braces are all options available to slightly older patients, but they are also more expensive options. Bear in mind that these procedures are cutting-edge and will cost a pretty penny. If you’re strapped for cash, there’s absolutely no shame in getting regular braces installed – no matter what age you are. It’s not like you’ll be wearing them forever.
MYTH #3: NO PAIN, NO DENTIST
People are often in denial about cavities. Can’t really blame them, since it’s pretty daunting to have one filled in. So they do the simple tongue test; poke and prod at your tooth for a bit. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not a cavity. If it doesn’t start hurting on its own, it’s not a cavity. As long as your teeth look fine and nothing hurts, it’s not a cavity.
TRUTH: No, you’re right on this one. Pain is actually a very good indicator of cavity formation. As long as your tooth isn’t hurting, the chances of there being a cavity on one is pretty slim. However, that doesn’t mean a regular visit to your dentist isn’t in order. If you require your kids to go once every six months, why aren’t you following a regular schedule yourself?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that adults visit their general dentist according to their risk level. If you’re high risk for dental problems (i.e., you ingest a lot of tobacco, alcohol, sugary snacks, or carbonated drinks) they recommend a general check-up every three to six months. If you’re in the lower risk area, a visit every twelve or twenty-four months is still advised.