While you can rely on the law of gravity and some basic math, there are plenty of “truths” out there that, like an old-fashioned game of “telephone” can get pretty mixed up as it gets passed around.
Let’s take some of the common theories about dental care and examine what’s true, what isn’t, and what is a mix of both.
Cavities and Sugar
Some dentists hand out toothbrushes on Halloween and might even offer to buy kid’s candy by the pound. This reinforces the common misconception that sugar causes cavities and tooth decay.
The truth is, that bacteria causes cavities and decay. But, bacteria also really likes sugar. So, sugar can certainly create an environment where bacteria can thrive. Still, just eating candy won’t cause cavities. The real danger comes from when we don’t clean well after we eat candy.
Did you know that juice or dried fruit can leave as much sugar in your mouth as a candy bar? Anything that breaks down into sugars becomes a bacteria buffet, and that buffet is especially dangerous when tucked in between your teeth.
Sugar has a bad reputation, and it honestly deserves it. Sugar weakens the immune system, causes inflammation of all sorts, and can cause weight gain if used in excess. Still, it is not an immediate cavity creator.
Lowering your sugar intake can have all sorts of health benefits, but isn’t the silver bullet to avoiding cavities. The stuff you do eat can be more important than what you avoid. Raw fruits and vegetables are full of minerals and they make your teeth work hard. It’s like brushing your teeth and eating at the same time!
Speaking of brushing. . .
Is it true we should brush our teeth regularly? Absolutely! Ideally, you are brushing your teeth twice a day at least, with an extra brushing if you eat or drink something especially sugary or sticky. If you can’t get to a toothbrush after that caramel popcorn, try some gum. That can pull out the sticky bits that would love to settle down and start making trouble.
While brushing your teeth is important, there can be misconceptions about the technique. Harder is not better, and in fact, can do some damage. You wouldn’t clean your car with a brillo pad, would you? Take it easy on your teeth if you want that enamel to last a while.
Rather than working (or brushing) harder, the more important focus is angle and technique. Angle the toothbrush at about forty-five degrees, so that it is getting down into the gum line, where bacteria like to hang out with their dirty little pals and make trouble.
Also, while the movies might depict a hearty back-and-forth brushing, gentle circles are a better way to go. As we’ve mentioned before, think “wax on, wax off” when it comes to brushing.
This is one myth we are happy to completely debunk. Gone are the days of pulling teeth with only a shot of whiskey to dull the pain. Thankfully, dentists don’t use whiskey anymore! Dentistry has come a long way and often there is little to no pain involved, even with the most serious procedures. Finding the right dentist is important if dental care makes you nervous. Shop around until you find an office that feels both safe and comfortable.
If a trip to the dentist causes high anxiety, look around until you find an office where you feel comfortable. You might start with very short visits, just basic cleanings, until you feel safer and more comfortable. Dentists are there to help you and, ideally, create a long-term relationship with your dentist, so it is important to find the right fit!
Sometimes it isn’t the tools that scare us at the dentist, it is the bill that comes later. Several wonderful options offer dental services without insurance, even if it is an emergency dentist appointment. Dentists will work with you on payment plans to get you the care you need for the price that works.
Babies and Pregnancy
We all grow teeth, that’s true. But the question of when to start caring for those teeth can sometimes get different answers. A common misconception is that baby teeth don’t matter, they are falling out anyway.
Sure, the teeth might not be sticking around long, but the habits (or lack thereof) are. Those baby teeth affect speech and so it is valuable to take good care of them so your child doesn’t lose any of them prematurely. Not only does the early habit of brushing and flossing help keep those baby pearls clean and strong, but it also cultivates a healthy habit that will bless your child forever, even when every one of those little gems has made it to under the pillow.
While the baby is developing, the mama’s teeth also deserve attention. A common myth is that it isn’t safe for a pregnant woman to go to the dentist. Not only are routine checkups a wonderful idea, but pregnancy can also increase the chances of gingivitis, so some extra care and cleaning is not a bad idea! Still, if a major procedure is needed, make sure that everything is baby safe along the way.
The Truth and Nothing But the Truth
The real truth is this: Your Mouth Matters. Not only does it work hard for you, but it is also a great indicator of health for the rest of your body. Taking time to establish and maintain healthy dental habits is worth the investment. Trust us on that one!
How well do you know dental care? You might hear some people give you advice and words of wisdom, but how can you be sure that what they are saying is true? Here we are debunking some common dental care myths and uncovering the truth. These will help you establish and maintain good dental habits. Read on.