Common Dental Misconceptions
Dental hygiene and taking care of your teeth is extremely important, but there are plenty of misconceptions out there that which often cause some confusion or lead people to believe certain things about the dentist or their teeth that simply aren’t true.
Good oral hygiene is actually extremely simple, so in order to help you tell the difference between fact and fiction, our Essex dental experts have gone through some of the most common dental myths to expose the truth and explain what you really should be doing.
Myth – You need to brush your teeth hard to get them clean
Whether you are using a manual or electric toothbrush, brushing your teeth too hard can actually be extremely damaging instead of making your teeth cleaner. Some of the issues brushing too hard can cause include bleeding and receding gums as well as the erosion of the tooths hard enamel that helps to protect them from decay and cavities.
Instead of aggressively brushing your teeth, be sure to use a soft or medium bristle brush or toothbrush head and use a gentle amount of pressure across all the surfaces of the teeth, focusing on them individually, rather than in large scrubbing motions.
Myth – You don’t need to floss
There has always been conflicting advice about flossing and following a study that was published in 2016, there has been even more confusion around the subject. However, it is still recommended by UK dentists and the NHS guidelines that flossing is still an effective and essential part of good dental hygiene.
Brushing alone doesn’t always reach the small gaps between the teeth where food particles, debris and bacteria can get trapped, leading to oral health issues such as decay. Regular flossing or the use of interdental brushes are highly effective at removing stubborn food particles and bacteria that can build up between the teeth.
Myth – You only need to change your toothbrush heads when the bristles are out of shape
Overtime, toothbrushes or toothbrush heads lose their effectiveness as the bristles begin to shed, fray or bend out of shape, leaving behind plaque that can lead to dental issues.
Whilst it might not always be easy to remember exactly how much time has passed since you last changed your toothbrush head, doing so is very important so always set yourself a reminder or note down ahead of time on your calendar a little reminder of when you need to change it.
Myth – Diet drinks don’t damage your teeth
Although choosing diet soft drinks is often preferable above the high calorie, sugar laden alternatives, they are far from a ‘healthy’ choice. Diet beverages tend to be extremely acidic which can lead to the erosion of the tooths protective layer of enamel.
If you cannot skip the diet soft drinks then when you can try to drink them through a straw to help minimise the amount of contact they have with the teeth which can help to limit any potential damage.
Myth – You don’t need to go to the dentist unless you have a problem
This is a myth that a lot of dentist avoiding adults seem to want to follow but when it comes to your teeth there is one very clear fact and that is – prevention is better than cure!
Even if your teeth look and feel fine, you might be surprised just how many issues can be lurking there undetected and the longer they go unchecked and untreated, the worse they will get.
Regular check-ups with your dentist can help to deal with any potential issues early on with non-invasive or minimal treatment, stopping things such as decay, plaque and gum disease before its too far gone. If you wait until there is a notable issue before you go to the dentist then it can lead to tooth loss, root canals or extractions that could have been easily prevented.
Myth – Poor oral health will only affect your mouth
This is a myth that a lot of people are surprised to find out is not true as we tend to associate dental issues with only affecting our teeth, mouth and gums.
The truth is that there are certain oral health conditions that can either lead to issues in other parts of the body or greatly increase your chances of developing them such as;
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack
- Certain types of cancer
Never take your oral hygiene for granted and be sure to take care of your teeth, brush twice a day, visit your dentist regularly and keep a close eye out for any issues, pain or discomfort.