We see a lot of patients at our Carmel office, and with them come a lot of questions about dental health. There’s a lot of information out there about dentistry, and health in general, and sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.
Today we’re going to try doing just that. We’ve collected a list of the five oral health myths that we get asked about most often, and we’re going to set the record straight. Hopefully you’ll learn something from this bit of dental mythbusting!
#1: Whiter Teeth Are Healthier Teeth
Plenty of patients come to us thinking that whiter teeth mean that their smile is healthier, but that’s not true. While stains and a dull smile might not look the best, the color of your teeth are in no way indicative of their health.
Staining is simply an accumulation of darkly colored molecules from tea, wine, coffee, and other foods that have snuck into the small pores on your enamel. Our whitening treatments can get rid of them, but don’t worry about the health of your smile – it’s really not being affected by its shade.
#2: Fluoride Is Dangerous
We’ve all heard people talking about the dangers of fluoride, and it seems no amount of good scientific data can put this one to rest. If you were to ingest too much fluoride then yes, there would be health risks. The amounts you’re getting in the water and toothpaste you consume are nowhere near a toxic level.
To notice any harmful effects from fluoride you would need to be exposed to roughly ten to twenty times more than you likely get on a daily basis. What’s worse, the studies that show fluoride is harmful were performed in a part of the world where fluoride in groundwater exists at naturally toxic levels. Trust us: the fluoride you’re getting daily isn’t only safe, it’s essential for good oral health because it rebuilds damaged tooth enamel.
#3: Gum Disease Is Pretty Rare
Sorry, but your chances of developing some form of gum disease are around 60 percent over the course of your life. If you’ve noticed even the slightest bit of bleeding while brushing or flossing it’s probably already too late – that’s the earliest sign of a serious risk.
Oral bacteria is present in everyone’s mouths, and it doesn’t take much for it to start affecting your gums. It only needs about 24 hours of constant contact to cause irritation that develops into gum disease. If you’re not brushing twice a day and flossing every night you can take stock in the fact that you’ll end up with it – that’s practically a guarantee.
#4: Gum Disease During Pregnancy Is No Big Deal
Pregnancy is a real risk factor for developing gum disease, but that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get it. You need to work harder than ever on your oral health during pregnancy to prevent gum disease. If you develop it your chances of pregnancy complications skyrocket!
Women suffering from gum disease during pregnancy pass bad bacteria into their children, and they also have higher rates of premature and underweight births. Those babies that are born healthy have mouths containing the same dangerous strains of bacteria that caused your gum disease, setting them up for higher risks later in life. That’s not the kind of gift you want to give your child!
#5: The Best Time To Brush Is After A Meal
This myth is actually the exact opposite of reality – you should never brush your teeth after a meal! The acids produced by oral bacteria soften your enamel, and for about 30 minutes after you eat they’re much more susceptible to damage. Even something as soft as a toothbrush can scrape away enamel and increase your chances of developing cavities!
If you feel the need to clean your teeth after a meal we recommend rinsing your mouth with water, swishing with mouthwash, or chewing sugar-free gum. All are great ways to freshen up, and they won’t do damage to your teeth in the process.
Let’s Bust Some More Myths Together!
There are a lot of other misconceptions about dental care – we couldn’t possibly cover them all here. If you want to get the truth about some of the rumors and myths you hear most often you’ll just have to call Really Smile Dentistry!