10 Common Dental Myths and the Facts

10 Common Dental Myths and the Facts

The world of oral hygiene is full of myths. These dental myths are often picked up from childhood or through outdated information that modern medicine has now debunked.

Take a look at our list below to see if you recognise any of these meddlesome myths, and learn the facts behind them.

1. Myth: Can Teeth Whitening damage your teeth?

Discolouration in teeth happens naturally over time. To combat this, you may be tempted to take a trip to your dentist to look into their teeth whitening options. Whitening or ‘Bleaching’ your teeth is often considered to be a risk due to the nature of older bleaches used in the process.

The facts on teeth whitening

Modern dental practitioners now use modern and completely safe methods of bleaching teeth. While in the past, tooth bleach was known to dissolve the enamel protecting your teeth, it is now considered a completely safe and non-damaging way to remove stains created by a variety of food and drink.

Please remember that discolouration is a natural part of the life cycle of teeth. While Teeth Whitening can get you those glistening pearly whites, it provides no other benefits to oral health and does not improve dental hygiene. To do this, it is recommended you visit your local dental professional for a check-up.

2. Myth: Are White Teeth Healthy Teeth?

Teeth, in general, come through as white. As such, we often consider a set of glistening white teeth to be strong, healthy, and a sign of good dental hygiene. Is this truly the case though?

The facts on healthy teeth

Unfortunately, white teeth are not always healthy teeth. As mentioned above, teeth can be whitened safely through your local dentist. While white teeth may be pleasing to the eye, it does not resolve deeper issues like cavities and tooth decay. The best way to maintain healthy teeth is to have regular checkups as recommended by your dentist.

3. Myth: Does Coffee really stain your teeth?

Coffee is a much-loved drink with a range of benefits. It can help improve brain function, aid digestion, and boost energy levels. Like many other drinks and foods though, it has built a reputation for staining teeth.

The facts on coffee stains

Unfortunately, Coffee does indeed stain your teeth. This is down to organic compounds found in coffee called Tannins. Tannins are known to have a range of health benefits, including being great antioxidants. Tannins though are also the main culprit of teeth staining through their natural dyeing properties. This means that gradually, as coffee is consumed, it was start to stain your teeth, especially when drunk frequently and without proper oral hygiene.

You may see at first a staining of the enamel protecting your teeth, followed by the teeth themselves becoming stained. Fear not though, teeth whitening can turn discolouration back to white again. On top of that, brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and rinsing your mouth out with water after coffee can also reduce discolouration. For iced coffees, you can also consider using a straw, which will aid in bypassing the teeth entirely.

4. Myth: Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

A lot of people are naturally unsure as to how to respond to wisdom teeth coming through, especially when they generally come through in the early stages of adulthood. But the big scary question is, do we need to have them removed? The short answer: not necessarily.

The facts on wisdom teeth

Once past the initial discomfort of growing them, a lot of people keep their wisdom teeth for life. While this may seem like a happy ending for those avoiding a trip to the dentist, there are considerations worth making.

There may be side effects to your wisdom teeth coming through, in which case it is recommended that you visit your local dentist. These side effects could include things like migraines, teeth shifting through overcrowding, and cavities, amongst others. In any of these cases, paying a visit to your dentist can help you decide if removing the wisdom teeth is a worthwhile decision.

5. Myth: Fillings have a short lifespan

Fillings come in all shapes and sizes, and are often associated with uncomfortable trips to the dentist. Dentistry is constantly evolving, though, and with that evolution, new methods of filling have been introduced. But how long do they last?

The facts on the fillings

While a filling won’t last forever, modern composite fillings are strong and durable and should last between 10-12 years. A requirement to maintain good fillings is to follow the advice of your dentist when they give it to you. In general, though, maintaining good oral health is all that’s needed to keep your filling strong.

If you do find that the tooth your filling is in is creating issues like tooth sensitivity or pain, reach out to your local dentist who can examine the filling, and if need be, replace it.

6. Myth: Avoiding the dentist while pregnant

For a long time, it has been suggested that pregnant people should avoid going to the dentist. This boils down to the idea that there may be an aspect of dentistry that can cause distress to the baby.

The facts on visiting the dentist while pregnant

There is no reason you shouldn’t visit the dentist while pregnant, especially for a simple preventative checkup, or teeth cleaning. However, if there is an elective procedure, for instance, teeth whitening, it is recommended you wait until after the baby has been delivered.

It’s highly recommended that you let your dentist know that you are pregnant, and discuss any worries with them. Their expert opinion will put your mind at ease, and help you to maintain solid oral hygiene.

7. Myth: Sugar-free drinks are safe for teeth

When choosing a drink, do you ever consider how it will affect your teeth? A lot of people select diet options of popular sodas with the belief that the reduced sugar will help prevent tooth decay often associated with sugary drinks.

The facts on sugar-free drinks and oral health

Unfortunately, sugar-free drinks can potentially harm your teeth as much as their full-fat alternative. This is largely down to the additional ingredients added to diet drinks, such as phosphoric acid, citric acid and tartaric acid. These acids act much in the same way that acid formed from full-fat drinks does, in that it weakens the enamel of your teeth over time, creating openings for deeper issues to take root.

8. Myth: Manual Toothbrushes are as good as Electric Toothbrushes

Is there really much difference between a manual and an electric toothbrush? How different can they be when it comes to oral hygiene?

The facts on manual vs electric toothbrushes

Evidence suggests that electric toothbrushes work very well and often better than their manual counterparts. There are several reasons for this, but most notably, electric toothbrushes usually come with timers to help you brush for the correct amount of time. Additionally, due to the motion of the brush, there is no need to place extra pressure while brushing, which can potentially cause damage to the tooth enamel or gum line.

On the other hand, manual toothbrushes don’t suffer from the price tag of an electric brush, and they can be easily purchased if left at home.

If your goal is better oral hygiene though, the consensus is that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and keeping your mouth healthy.

9. Myth: Hard-bristled toothbrushes work best

Often when brushing we treat our teeth like we do our crockery: scrub hard until it comes clean. To achieve this, hard-bristled toothbrushes are often the first call. But are they really good for your teeth?

The facts on hard-bristled toothbrushes

Hard or firm bristles can often create deeper issues down the line, and are not recommended. These types of toothbrushes often do damage to the enamel as you clean your teeth. This in turn allows more space for bacteria to get to your teeth, causing tooth decay. They can also be responsible for gum recession, which in turn can lead to tooth sensitivity.

10. Myth: I’ve no pain or oral health concerns, so I do not need to go to the dentist

When all is well and we feel on top of our oral hygiene, we often ask ourselves ‘Do I really need that dentist check up’?

The facts on avoiding regular checkups

You should always plan regular check-ups with your dentist, regardless of if you feel on top of your dental hygiene. Much like a doctor taking your blood pressure frequently, the dentist can inspect your teeth and mouth and find issues that you may have no idea about. These preventative checkups are necessary for beating more uncomfortable and expensive issues further down the line.

How can Green Square Dental help you?

At Green Square Dental we make it our aim to provide the best in dental care while offering advice on the many dental myths that exist.

Our services include:

General checkups and dentistry – including support for nervous and young patients.
Cosmetic dentistry – including teeth whitening, white fillings, veneers and dentures
Dental implants – including single-tooth implants, implant-supported bridges, and more

Need advice or to book a check-up? Get in touch with our specialists today.

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