In the era of internet “clickbait” and TV doctors, a lot of misleading or flat-out untrue health claims are bandied about, including myths about dental health. Knowing the truth about how to take care of your teeth and gums is important to achieving and maintaining a healthy smile. To help you discern between fact and fiction, here are 5 of the most common dental health myths, debunked by a dentist in Clintonville.
Myth #1: Teeth Whitening is Dangerous
Early whitening methods used more than 30 years ago utilized acidic materials that often broke down tooth enamel. However, professional teeth whitening methods have developed considerably over the years, and today, are very safe. Modern teeth whitening treatments rely on carbamide peroxide – a form of hydrogen peroxide – to brighten stained teeth. While some slight tooth sensitivity after treatment is normal, any discomfort is temporary, and there is no risk of permanent damage.
Myth #2: Bleeding Gums are Normal When Brushing
Seeing blood in the sink after brushing is NOT normal, even if you tend to brush with a heavy hand. Instead, your bleeding gums are likely a symptom of gingivitis, the beginning stage of gum disease. Gingivitis occurs when plaque and tartar build up on the gums, causing them to swell, become sensitive and often bleed when brushing. If you see blood in the sink a few days in a row, you should schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible.
Myth #3: All White Teeth are Healthy
Our society often associates white teeth with beauty and vitality, but not all white teeth are automatically healthy. Serious oral health problems like cavities and infections can grow inside a tooth without displaying any symptoms visible to the naked eye. This is just one more reason you should visit a dentist every six months for a dental checkup and cleaning.
Myth #4: Sugar Causes Cavities
Eating a lot of Halloween candy does not automatically mean that all your teeth will rot and fall out. While sugar can lead to tooth decay, it does not cause tooth decay directly. Instead, bacteria in your mouth feasts on the sugar that you eat, which in turn produces acid. This acid wears away at tooth enamel, eventually creating cavities.
The most important thing to remember after trick-or-treating – or whenever you eat or drink something sugary – is to brush your teeth about 30 minutes later. Allowing residual sugar to remain in your mouth longer than this allows harmful acids to thrive and attack your teeth.
Myth #5: Place Aspirin Directly on a Toothache to Relieve Pain
Dissolving an Aspirin near a toothache will not deliver fast-acting relief. In fact, Aspirin only works once it has been absorbed into the bloodstream via the digestive track. Besides, if you have a toothache causing you a lot of pain, a better course of action is to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible to identify and treat the problem.
So, now you know the truth behind 5 common dental health myths. Hopefully, this information will be useful in caring for your smile. For more dental health myth-busting, contact a dentist in Clintonville today!
About the Author
A proud graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Dr. Eric Buck provides quality dental care to families and individuals in central Ohio. He constantly pursues continuing education opportunities to stay on top of the latest developments in modern dentistry. For more oral care information and tips, visit the Creative Smiles website or call 614-459-7766.