There is no magic pill for a healthy smile. Dentists and other oral care professionals recommend different treatments for their patients; no two patients are exactly alike.
However, there are common misconceptions and myths about oral health perpetuated online or by word of mouth, and this advice could lead to otherwise unintended oral health issues.
Dentists want you to have a healthy smile, and this guide can help you sift through some of the most common dental myths and misconceptions.
SUGAR CAUSES CAVITIES
We all know sugar is terrible for your teeth, but why is that? Ingesting a lot of sugar does not technically cause tooth decay; the real issue is how long the sugar remains in your mouth.
Sugars introduced into your mouth causes bacteria to produce acids that slowly eat away at your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities.
In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth, minerals found in your saliva can help repair the enamel worn down by harmful bacteria, strengthening your teeth.
SUGAR-FREE SODAS ARE SAFE FOR YOUR TEETH
Another misconception is that sugar-free sodas are not harmful to your teeth. However, even without sugar, the acidity of soda can still be very damaging to your tooth enamel.
The average pH level of water is 7, which is neutral on the scale of acids and bases. However, diet sodas sit around a level of 2 or 3, which is still incredibly acidic to your teeth. For reference, the pH level of battery acid sits at 1.
WHITE TEETH MEAN HEALTHY TEETH
Teeth whitening is a popular treatment; many people take steps to brighten their smiles. Around 18-52% of people are not happy with the colour of their teeth. That said, a pearly white smile is not necessarily an indicator of healthy teeth.
The natural colour of teeth can be different for different people. Instead of basing health on the colour of your teeth, dentists look for indicators like fresh breath and zero cavities to determine your oral health.
BRACES ARE ONLY FOR WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG
Braces have often been misconstrued as something only children and teens have to deal with. This is not true.
You can have straight teeth at any age, even if your teeth have shifted over time. Options like Invisalign are also available to straighten your teeth without the look of braces.
PREGNANT MOTHERS SHOULD AVOID THE DENTIST
Some soon-to-be mothers might have reservations about visiting the dentist while expecting. It could not be further from the truth.
In fact, we recommend that mothers keep their regular check-ups during their pregnancy because hormone levels rise while a mother is expecting, and these hormone levels can cause gums to swell or bleed.
TOOTHACHES ARE NO CAUSE FOR WORRY IF THEY STOP
If you are experiencing a toothache, but the pain subsides, you should still see your dentist as soon as possible. Cavities often cause toothaches, as untreated cavities can reach a nerve inside your tooth, causing pain.
If the pain stops, the problem has not disappeared; the cavity has killed the nerve inside your tooth.
ORAL HEALTH IS NOT CONNECTED TO GENERAL HEALTH
Your mouth is home to many bacteria, some harmless and some beneficial. However, your oral health can determine the well-being of the rest of your body since your mouth can be an entry point for harmful bacteria.
By neglecting the health of your teeth, you are making your body vulnerable to various diseases like endocarditis, pneumonia, and cardiovascular disease. Keeping a good oral care routine and seeing your dentist regularly can significantly reduce the risk of other diseases entering your body.
THE HEALTH OF YOUR TEETH DETERIORATES WITH AGE
Your oral health changes over time, but this does not mean it worsens and you can do nothing about it. By keeping a good dental routine and regularly checking in with your dentist, you can have excellent oral health leading well into your senior years.
BABY TEETH DO NOT MATTER
The importance of baby teeth cannot be understated. While still being very necessary for your child to chew and speak at an early age, baby teeth also create space for adult teeth to come in.
Removing a baby tooth prematurely will leave a space open for other teeth to shift around, which can cause problems like overlapping and crookedness. Overly-shifted teeth can make it hard to maintain a great oral health routine going into the future.