When it comes to oral and dental health, there are unfortunately many points that are misunderstood and lead people to wrong practices. In fact, while it is possible to have a healthy mouth and teeth by spending just a few minutes a day, wrong practices can cause irreversible damage. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish between myths and facts.
Here are common myths about oral and dental health, and the actual truths:
Myth 1: The harder you brush your teeth, the better they will be cleaned
Truth: Brushing your teeth (with medium or hard toothbrushes) too hard and too abrasive can damage your teeth by eroding some of the hard tooth enamel that protects the inner parts of the teeth from abrasions and decay. Although people feel cleaner by brushing their teeth this way, they actually wear off their gums and enamel. In the clinic, I recommend my patients to always brush their teeth with soft-bristled toothbrushes, non-aggressively.
Myth 2: Flossing is no longer very necessary
Truth: The recommendation to floss regularly was removed from the US government’s “American Dietary Guidelines” due to the lack of strong evidence for practice. However, the lack of strong evidence does not mean that flossing is not effective. The important thing is that we can effectively clean the interface of our teeth. Using an interface toothbrush or mouthwash instead of floss can accomplish a similar task. Consult your dentist to find out how to clean the interface.
Myth 3: Chewing sugar-free gum works just as well as brushing teeth
Truth: If this were true, I guess it would be perfect for kids. Chewing sugar-free gum, especially xylitol (xylitol) gums, can have a protective effect on the teeth. Chewing gum promotes saliva production, which helps cleanse tooth enamel from corrosive acidic foods, beverages, and even stomach acid in conditions such as acid reflux. And xylitol helps to double the effects of saliva. However, chewing gum can never be a substitute for brushing or flossing when it comes to removing plaque from the tooth surface. The beneficial effects of chewing gums stated above can only be supportive of tooth brushing for oral care. In addition, considering that chewing gum can cause different jaw joint problems, we can say that chewing gum should be consumed only to a certain extent.
Myth 4: If your gums bleed while brushing your teeth, it’s best not to touch them.
Truth: Most of the time, gum bleeding happens when bacteria and plaque build up between our teeth and when the bristles of the toothbrush do not reach properly. Over time, bacteria spreads and this causes the gums to become inflamed. Bleeding is also part of this process.
If you floss only once a month (or just before you go to the dentist), you will notice bleeding in your gums. If you floss daily and make a habit of it, the inflammation in your gums — and thus the bleeding — will stop over time. Also, just because your teeth bleed while brushing doesn’t mean you should stop brushing. You can continue to brush gently without harming your teeth and gums.
Myth 5: You don’t brush your teeth regularly and use dental floss. If you brush your teeth just before your dentist appointment, nobody will know, right?
Truth: Sorry if you are disappointed, but unfortunately you can’t escape anything this way. When you do not brush regularly and do not floss, hard tartar forms around your teeth, and at a certain point, you cannot remove this hardened tartar by simply brushing your teeth. Also, although you can only recover plaque and tartar by flossing for a few days, you won’t be able to undo the inflammation in your gums.
Myth 6: Sugar is the only thing to blame for the teeth decay
Truth: When you think of cavities, you may think of more lollipops and other sweet and sticky foods. But crackers and chips can be even worse for your teeth. This is about starch… Carbohydrates usually have enough sugar to damage the teeth, and they also stick to the tooth surface.
Myth 7: If your teeth are sensitive, it means that your enamel is too worn out
Truth: Sensitivity is an important sign of the loss of enamel which is the hard protective layer on the outside of the tooth. However, gum recession can also be caused by other factors such as the constant and excessive use of whitening toothpastes. Tooth sensitivity can also be due to clenching and acid erosions. Instead of looking directly for a miracle solution desensitizing toothpaste, you should visit your dentist to make sure there is no problem.
Myth 8: Gum disease is just a problem with our oral health
Truth: Your dentist may be the first to notice this, but if you have gum disease, there are even some types of cancer related to chronic inflammation as well as health problems such as diabetes and hypertension.
Myth 9: The whiter your teeth are, the healthier they are
Truth: While this is generally true, we cannot always draw the same conclusion. Our teeth are naturally white. Things that make them appear darker or yellow may be habits such as smoking or aging. However, while smoking, some medications, foods and drinks can cause unhealthy staining, teeth may darken somehow only with the natural aging process. Therefore, it cannot be inferred that teeth that are not always white are unhealthy.
Myth 10: If there is nothing bothering you, you don’t need to go to the dentist for a checkup.
Truth: Sometimes you may not feel pain despite having too many problems with your teeth. Or, on the contrary, a minor problem can cause pain in your teeth. We have to explain this to the patients. We should educate them about problems in their teeth that they do not notice, or gum diseases. Because when symptoms occur, it usually means that the problem is too big. For example, while you can prevent a tooth decay in time by going to regular check-ups, if you wait for a decay to be painful to have it checked, you may eventually need root canal treatment or tooth extraction.
By visiting your dentist regularly, you can protect your teeth or fix any problems before they go forward. In this way, irreversible situations such as tooth loss are prevented