The week of April Fools is full of pranks and jokes, so instead of adding to the deceit we want to take the opportunity to tackle 5 common dental myths and reveal a few truths about your oral health!
Myth #1: Chewing gum is just as good as brushing your teeth.
While chewing sugarless gum after you eat is a great way to stimulate saliva production, remove some of the food particles from your teeth, and make your breath fresher, it is in no way a replacement for brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and flossing your teeth at least once a day. Brushing and flossing teeth does all of the things chewing gum does and more, including removing and plaque buildup from your teeth that, if left there, could lead to tooth decay. Additionally, rinsing with mouthwash is not an adequate substitute for a proper oral care routine.
Myth #2: Only kids get cavities.
When you were a kid, you probably heard a lot about cavities and how children are very prone to them. While that’s true, adults can get tooth decay and cavities too! In fact, the prevalence of cavities in the senior citizen demographic has risen in recent years. As we age, we often take more medications, which can have negative oral health side effects like dry mouth. Dry mouth means you have less saliva production, which leads to an increased risk of cavities. At every stage of life, it’s critical for the health of your teeth and gums to brush and floss every day, to keep up with your professional cleanings here at Helotes Family Dentistry, and to practice superb oral habits (such as eating a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco products, and drinking plenty of water.)
Myth #3: You’ll always know if you have tooth decay.
While patients often think of cavities as visible dark pits, that’s not always the case. Usually, the detection of tooth decay and cavities requires dental X-rays and a visual examination by a dentist. Depending on the severity of the decay, you may experience bad breath, tooth sensitivity, or pain, and you might even be able to see dark spots and discoloration on your teeth, but you may not. That’s why we recommend visiting us every six months so we can check whether your mouth is healthy and cavity-free!
Myth #4: You should be using a toothbrush with firm bristles.
You may think it would make sense to brush your teeth with a hard toothbrush because the bristles will provide a more thorough clean, but it’s much better if you brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing too hard and brushing with bristles that are too firm or hard can actually lead to weakened enamel and a receding gum line. Soft bristles will provide just as thorough a clean that’s much easier on your teeth and gums. We recommend investing in an soft-bristled electric toothbrush if you struggle applying a safe amount of pressure when brushing.
Myth #5: Sugar causes cavities.
While a diet high in sugar increases your risk of tooth decay, it’s not the thing that directly causes cavities. When you eat sugar, the bacteria in your mouth feed upon them and produce acidic byproducts that then damage your enamel. So it’s not the sugar that rots your teeth, but what is made by the bacteria that eats the residual sugar on your teeth!
Your Oral Health Is Our Priority!
It’s no April Fools joke–we really are here to help you and your family have optimal oral health. So if you have any other dental-related questions or concerns, contact us today.Contact Us