Debunking Dental Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction with East Vic Park Dental
Oral Health

Debunking Dental Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction with East Vic Park Dental

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When it comes to your oral health, myths and misconceptions can be dangerous.

3 minute read

Good oral health is important for your overall health and wellbeing, and most common dental problems can be prevented. Unfortunately, some persistent myths and misconceptions about dental care can prevent people from taking proper care of their teeth and gums or can even cause harm.

We debunk 14 of those dental myths now. If you need to see a dentist about any aspect of your oral health or other concerns, contact our friendly team at EVP Dental to book a dental check-up in East Vic Park.

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Myth 1: You should brush straight after eating food

Brushing your teeth too soon after eating or drinking something acidic can cause damage. This is because acids may be present on teeth surfaces that can soften the enamel, which can make it vulnerable to damage from abrasive brushing.

Waiting at least an hour after eating or drinking should give enough time for your saliva to neutralise acids on your teeth and won’t spread acid around in the mouth unnecessarily. It's generally recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, preferably first thing in the morning and before going to sleep.

Instead of brushing straight after a meal, try rinsing your mouth with tap water to help wash away food debris and to reduce the acidity.

Myth 2: Brushing harder is better

Brushing your teeth roughly or using a hard-bristled toothbrush doesn't get them cleaner. It could even cause damage if it wears down the protective enamel or causes the gums to recede.

Gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush should remove most plaque from your teeth. Hardened plaque (tartar) can only be removed with professional cleaning from your dentist or hygienist.

Myth 3: You should rinse your mouth after brushing

Tooth enamel constantly fluctuates between states of demineralisation and remineralisation. Essential minerals, including calcium and phosphate, are either removed, which weakens the enamel, or re-deposited, which re-hardens the enamel.

Toothpaste contains fluoride which protects enamel from the process of demineralisation. Rinsing toothpaste off your teeth after brushing can help your taste return to normal faster, but it also means depriving your teeth of the lasting benefits of fluoride.

Myth 4: Charcoal toothpaste is better for you

Charcoal toothpaste is often branded as helping to whiten teeth, but its abrasive charcoal elements can potentially damage teeth enamel. Even worse, charcoal toothpaste doesn't contain fluoride, so your teeth won't be as well defended against plaque and cavities.

Myth 5: Flossing is unnecessary

Flossing is sometimes considered optional or unnecessary after brushing, but not cleaning between your teeth allows bacteria and leftover food to build up in the places your toothbrush can't reach. This increases your risk of developing gum disease, not to mention bad breath.

If you or your child find flossing difficult or uncomfortable, you can talk to a dentist about alternatives that you could find easier, such as a floss holder, interdental brush or water flosser.

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Myth 6: Fluoride is dangerous

One of the most persistent dental myths is that fluoride is harmful at the levels used in toothpaste, drinking water and oral hygiene treatments. In reality, quite the reverse is true.

Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of fluoride for lowering rates of tooth decay, tooth loss and other oral health problems in populations, with no adverse health effects when fluoride is managed at safe levels, such as those in Australian water supplies.

Excess fluoride consumption, such as from accidentally swallowing toothpaste, may lead to children developing fluorosis, a cosmetic condition where white or discoloured specks appear on the teeth. However, this is rare, and only affects the appearance of teeth, not their health or function.

Myth 7: Only sugar causes decay

Although sugar is the most common cause of tooth decay, other carbohydrates can also feed bacteria in plaque and release acids that wear down teeth and lead to decay and cavities. This includes breads, cereals, and starchy chips and crackers, particularly those that stick to the mouth or get trapped between teeth.

Myth 8: Cavities are always painful

A toothache is a common symptom of a cavity, but plenty of cavities are painless, especially if they don't extend to the sensitive centre of the tooth. Keeping up with your regular dental check-ups improves the chances of cavities and other problems being caught and treated early, before they cause more serious damage.

Myth 9: Don’t brush if your gums are bleeding

Bleeding gums are a sign of gum inflammation as a result of bacteria-causing plaque. Keep up with gentle brushing and flossing to reduce inflammation and your gums should stop bleeding within a few days.

Myth 10: White teeth are always healthier

Yellow or discoloured teeth can sometimes be signs of tooth decay or other problems, but teeth don't have to be perfectly white to be healthy. Some people's teeth are naturally less white than others, and teeth may also develop stains that don't affect their health, only their appearance. Teeth whitening treatments are purely a cosmetic choice and don't address underlying oral health problems.

Myth 11: Professional whitening damages teeth

Teeth whitening products contain chemicals that can potentially damage teeth and soft tissues in the mouth if they're misused. However, these risks are lowered if your treatment is provided by a qualified and experienced dentist, or when using a personalised whitening kit following their instructions.

Myth 12: Baby teeth don’t matter because they fall out anyway

Just because children are going to lose their first teeth eventually, that doesn't they should be left to rot away. Damaged, decayed or misaligned baby teeth can affect the permanent teeth coming through underneath and may lead to life-long dental problems. It's important that children see a dentist twice a year and any time you're concerned to address any issues as soon as possible.

Myth 13: Expecting mothers should avoid the dentist

Hormone changes, morning sickness and other aspects of pregnancy increase oral health risks for expecting mothers, and gum disease is associated with pregnancy risks such as premature delivery and low birth weight. For these reasons, it's recommended to maintain your dental visits during pregnancy so your dentist can monitor your oral health and address any problems early.

Although modern dental x-rays are considered safe for pregnant women, your dentist will still avoid taking x-rays unless strictly necessary and will take every precaution to avoid any exposure to your child. However, it's advisable to avoid elective treatments such as cosmetic dentistry or those that require sedation until after pregnancy to avoid any possible risks.

Myth 14: Dental treatments are always painful

Modern dental techniques and anaesthesia have significantly reduced the pain associated with dental procedures. Many treatments that were performed 50 years ago are now virtually painless.

Want to know how to keep teeth and gums in tip top shape? Check out our top brushing tips below!

Book a dental check-up in East Vic Park

If it's time for your regular check-up, or you want to talk to a dentist about any problem or aesthetic concern, get in touch with EVP Dental in East Victoria Park to book an appointment with our experienced dentists at a time that's good for you.

Call us today on (08) 9470 3944 or book online and our team will get back to you as soon as we can.

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