There are plenty myths and old wives’ tales out there. Who remembers that old story “when brushing you hair, aim for 100 strokes at a time.” Many of us can agree that 100 brush strokes on your hair may be totally futile, but what about all those myths and “facts” pertaining to your oral health?
Read on to learn more about what is true and what is false.
Only floss the teeth you want to keep
Dentists often sing this sentence to patients, and it leaves plenty people wondering “is this just a catchy phrase or is there some sort of logic behind it?”
This ideology DOES have its basis in fact. That’s because cavities can form in between your teeth and naturally, a toothbrush cannot reach these spaces in between your teeth. Flossing helps to give you a more thorough clean. Not only does flossing help the teeth, but flossing also contributes to the health of your gums.
You’ve been slack on brushing and flossing and have a dentist appointment coming up. As long as you brush well before going in, no one will know.
If only dentists were that gullible! Without regular brushing and flossing, hard tartar forms around your teeth and at a certain point you will be unable to remove it with brushing alone. Additionally, you cannot undo the inflammation in your gums that occurs when plaque and tartar have accumulated over six months with just a few days of flossing. Bleeding gums and the amount and location of tartar are the giveaway to your dentist if you have been slacking on your dental hygiene.
Chewing sugar free gum is just as good as flossing
If you are travelling and on the go, we understand that chewing some sugar free gum may be used as a substitute for brushing. Chewing sugar-free gum, especially gum with xylitol, can have a protective effect on the teeth. Gum encourages saliva production, which helps to wash away enamel-eroding acids from foods, drinks, and even stomach acid in the case of issues like acid reflux. And xylitol helps to redouble the effects of saliva. In this sense, once in a while, using gum (if brushing is impossible) is alright. However, it does not entirely replace brushing as it is not as effective when it comes to removing plaque from all the surfaces of your teeth.
The harder you brush your teeth, the cleaner you will get them
Busted! This myth is actually quite damaging to your teeth. “Scrubbing” your teeth with a hard or medium toothbrush can harm your teeth by eroding some of the hard enamel that protects the inside of the tooth from cavities and decay. Scrubbing can also irreversibly damage your gums.
The whiter your teeth are, the healthier they are
Sometimes this can be true, although not always. This one is only “half a myth.” Teeth are naturally white. Many of the things that cause our teeth to get darker or become yellow are unhealthy, such as smoking.
However, there are also a variety of factors that can darken the colour of our teeth that are not necessarily unhealthy, such as medication, stains from foods and drinks, or simply the natural process of aging.