There are a lot of misconceptions about oral health care. Although many of these false beliefs are harmless in themselves, some of them can cause you to actually damage your teeth and other oral structures.
Like in our previous post, were here to discuss correct information by busting these five most common oral health care misconceptions.
1. Hard toothbrush is the best.
One would think that hard toothbrushes are better for cleaning the teeth because of their greater abrasive action.
Wrong. Hard toothbrushes, especially if used vigorously, can lead to increased risk of enamel loss.
A soft toothbrush is in fact more recommended because if used properly, it can clean the teeth well – and with much less risk.
2. By not eating candies, your teeth will be healthy and decay-free.
Candies and other unhealthy sweet treats cause tooth decay by supplying the decay-causing bacteria with lots of sugar. This sugar is converted to acids, which dissolve tooth structure.
Take note that even if you refrain from eating these sugary stuffs, you will still get tooth decay if you don’t brush your teeth as thoroughly and often as recommended.
Also, even healthy foods can be just as damaging if you don’t take care of your teeth properly. Simply put, tooth decay is interplay between diet, bacteria, and poor oral hygiene.
3. The more frequent you brush your teeth, the better.
The thinking behind this one is pretty obvious – you need to brush your teeth as often as you can so bacteria won’t have enough time to generate acids that cause tooth decay.
While there is some truth into this, you don’t have to do the brushing immediately after eating – and that’s for two simple reasons.
First, the mouth produces some acids (different from those made by oral bacteria) that help initially digest the food that you’ve just eaten, these acids soften the enamel and brushing would only wear away this tooth structure.
Second, the mouth has a way of defending itself, and that is through the saliva. Saliva has antibacterial effect which helps combat and wash away the decay-causing bacteria.
Furthermore, dentists recommend that you brush your teeth properly only twice a day. Toothpastes have abrasive property which can wear tooth enamel. The key is not frequency – it’s about how well you do it.
4. You should not brush if your gums are bleeding.
Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease. It is, in fact, a sign that you are not brushing your teeth thoroughly, leading to the accumulation of plaque on the gum line.
Bleeding indicates that your body is trying to fight the bacteria on plaque. Not brushing your teeth will only make the problem even worse, because it is brushing that actually gets rid of plaque that causes the bleeding.
Don’t brush too hard, though, so as not to further irritate the gums. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss to get rid of plaque in-between teeth. If bleeding persists, consult your dentist for professional cleaning.
5. Chewing sugar-free gum is a good alternative to brushing.
Chewing sugar-free gum offers some benefits, but they can never match the mechanical cleaning provided by proper toothbrushing; hence, it should not be considered an alternative.
Plaque and food debris on the teeth can only be removed by thorough brushing and flossing, and there will never be a good alternative for these two.