Around a third of all adults are unhappy with their teeth and smile and research shows that many people avoid showing their teeth when smiling, or feel the need to put their hand over their mouth when they talk. In some cases, people even feel the need to completely avoid having their photos taken, due to teeth insecurities. These insecurities can stem from anywhere, but most of them are caused by passing comments and these can hugely impact a person’s confidence. Following this, a lot of people tend to avoid visiting their dentist for fear of embarrassment, but this only causes further problems and damage.
It’s hugely important to look after your teeth and oral health but, due to common misconceptions and myths, a lot of adults put off paying their dentist a visit due to fears or worries that are totally false, or even in confidence that what they are currently doing works to combat tooth decay and keep fillings at bay. For most of us, our dental hygiene forms part of our daily routine – brushing once in the morning and then again in the evening – but there are some common myths and misconceptions when it comes to some aspects of our dental health.
Whether it’s quick fixes for whiter teeth or old wive’s tales that have no element of truth, here are 5 of the most common dental myths and misconceptions and why you should ignore them.
Sugar Causes Tooth Decay
A diet that is heavy in sugar, and particularly processed sugar, does increase the risk of developing tooth decay, however, it isn’t the only cause. As sugary foods are broken down, the sugar-rich saliva feeds the plaque that creates bacteria in your mouth. This then worsens the acids that can wear away the enamel on your teeth. Even if your diet is low in sugar, you will still be at risk for tooth decay and cavities if you don’t brush your teeth or floss properly. With so many different dietary requirements now, from vegan to gluten free, these can then cause knock-on effects on dental health. As some vegan diets are high in processed foods and carbohydrates that contain high levels of sugar, poor dental health is one of the surprising side effects of vegan diets.
White Teeth Mean Healthy Teeth
In recent years, getting the “Hollywood Smile” has been more popular than ever. This is largely due to the misconception that having bright, white teeth means that your teeth are healthy. However, having white teeth isn’t a fool proof sign that you have healthy teeth. Natural tooth colour can differ massively in terms of lightness, especially as we get older.
Just because your teeth are white doesn’t mean that you should avoid visiting your dentist, because you could have some serious underlying dental problems. You could still have cavities, enamel loss and oral health complications, even if your teeth are white.
Charcoal Dental Products Are Better For Your Teeth
Charcoal products have become something of an internet sensation in recent years and because of this, it is believed that charcoal dental products are much better for your teeth. However, these products could actually put your oral health at more risk. The most important ingredient in dental products is fluoride, which is crucial when it comes to preventing tooth decay and the forming of cavities.
Many charcoal dental products lack fluoride or simply don’t contain enough of it. When choosing a toothpaste, try to steer clear of the “hero” products – the all whitening, 10x fresher or charcoal products – as these will likely be more expensive and lack the right amount of fluoride. Stick to toothpaste from a quality and reputable brand.
You Don’t Need To Take Care Of Baby Teeth
Baby teeth fall out, so there’s no need to take care of them, right? Wrong. Not only is it important to care for baby teeth, but doing soon means that healthy oral care habits continue right through to adulthood. Encouraging your baby to brush their teeth early on means that they establish good habits which then leads them to positive life-long brushing techniques.
Using the right toothbrush and brushing technique twice a day helps to reduce the build up of plaque and this then reduces the risk of your child developing tooth decay and gum disease. You should also take your child to regular dentist appointments, to ensure that they have good oral health from an early age and to ensure that they don’t develop a fear of going to the dentist as they grow older. A lot of children suffer from bad dental and oral health, simply due to the belief that baby teeth don’t need to be cared for, but this can cause huge problems in the future.
Flossing Isn’t As Important As You Think
When it comes to oral hygiene, people tend to think about just brushing, ignoring important tasks such as brushing your tongue, flossing and using mouthwash. Whilst brushing your teeth is, of course, important, so too are these other dental hygiene tasks. Brushing cleans the surface of your teeth, however the bristles will be unlikely to reach and clean in between your teeth. Flossing is a great way to remove debris and plaque from in between your teeth and can actually clean up to a ⅓ of your tooth surface, areas that a toothbrush simply can reach.
Dental Braces Are Just For Children
Whilst it is common for children and teenagers to receive orthodontic treatment and wear braces, more and more adults are now choosing to get braces and have orthodontic treatment. Traditional metal train track braces are now a thing of the past and there have been huge advancements in dental technology, which means that there are now plenty of discreet and even invisible brace options available for adults. Invisalign treatment gives adults the ability to wear invisible braces and retainers, which can be removed to enable you to eat, drink and speak without worry.
General Dental Health Tips
- At home, ensure that you are brushing your teeth twice a day, whilst also using mouthwash and regularly flossing, as this can help improve your oral health and reduce your risk of developing cavities, gum disease or tooth decay.
- Avoid eating too many citrus fruits and try to lower the amount of sugar you are eating as part of your daily diet.
- Whilst it might be tempting to freshen up straight after eating, it’s best to wait an hour or so. The pH level in your mouth changes straight after eating and brushing your teeth soon after can damage the enamel coating of your teeth.
- After brushing, avoid rinsing your mouth out with water. Spit, instead of rinsing, as this means that any fluoride present in toothpaste remains in your mouth and helps contribute to the health of your teeth, as fluoride can help keep decay at bay.
There are plenty of myths and misconceptions surrounding dental health and hygiene which can be hugely damaging to people’s oral health and hygiene. Many of these myths come from old wives tales and often have no truth behind them, which means they’re all the more damaging. In order to maintain proper oral health, ensure that you keep up with your dentist appointments and get regular hygienist checkups and cleans.
Even if you don’t have any dental pain, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to visit a dentist as there can be some advanced or underlying problems present that aren’t currently causing any issues, but that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.