The internet can be a great tool for research and learning. However, it can also be a source of misinformation about many topics– oral health included. This is problematic because oral health is closely linked to overall health. Let’s consider some of the most common myths surrounding oral health and hygiene–and the truth behind the misconceptions:
Never brush bleeding gums. First of all, bleeding gums are not a normal side effect of brushing. In fact, they’re often an early indicator of periodontal disease– better known as gum disease. Many people are unaware of this fact and assume that if they just avoid brushing the bleeding area of their gums, the gums will heal on their own. If your gums are bleeding, continue to brush and floss as you normally would. If the bleeding persists, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the underlying cause of the bleeding.
Always brush right after eating. We’ve likely all heard this advice: immediately following a meal or snack, grab your toothbrush and brush away those food particles leftover on your teeth so that you can avoid decay. Of course, brushing is critical to preventing cavities. However, brushing within 30 minutes of eating can actually do more harm than good. That’s because brushing immediately following a meal can weaken the enamel, which is the protective outer layer of the teeth. This is particularly true if you’ve consumed highly acidic foods or drinks, like oranges or grapefruit. A good alternative to immediate brushing is to chew some sugar-free gum after a meal. This will encourage saliva flow, which will help to wash away those leftover food particles.
Adults don’t get braces. Let’s face it: braces are for those awkward pre-teen years when the halls of middle schools everywhere are filled with mouths of metal. If you missed this rite of passage as a kid, you’re out of luck— or are you? As it turns out, you’re not! Orthodontics– which is simply the treatment of irregularities in the teeth– is becoming increasingly more popular with adults. So, if you’re unhappy with your crooked teeth or misaligned smile, talk to your dentist about your options.
Dental X-rays aren’t a necessity. True or false: if you’re practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups, opting out of dental X-rays is no big deal. False! Unfortunately, there are plenty of oral health concerns that can’t be detected by a dental exam. X-rays allow dentists to detect potential problems early on, before they have the chance to develop into more serious concerns. Many people worry about the radiation exposure that results from X-rays. The good news is, radiation exposure from dental X-rays is minimal. This is especially true with the latest digital X-ray technology used in dentistry.
White teeth are always healthy. Your smile looks like it could be featured in a magazine, so there’s no need to visit the dentist, right? Wrong! The color of your teeth isn’t always a reflection of the health of your teeth. Some people are born with naturally whiter teeth. Also, with the popularity of over-the-counter teeth whitening products, many people have glowing smiles. This doesn’t mean, however, that there are no cavities or underlying infections present. Thus, even if you have a movie star caliber smile, it’s important to visit the dentist for regularly scheduled cleanings and check-ups.
Remember: your oral health and your body’s overall health are closely related so the importance of good oral health shouldn’t be underestimated. Practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting the dentist every six months are two important ways you can ensure that your smile stays healthy. For more information, contact us today.