Popular Dental Myths Debunked!
You ever get the feeling that there’s more misinformation out there than accurate information? A lot of things you hear are old wives’ tales, baseless hearsay and other urban myths. Dentistry isn’t a stranger to these types of “advice” – there are more than a few pieces of dental “wisdom” floating around that we roll our eyes and shake our heads at. Here are a few of the most common ones and the real truth behind the matter.
Coke Will Dissolve Your Teeth
It’s amazing what a powerful combination overstatement and idle talk can amount to. This all started back in 1950 when Cornell University professor Clive McCay told a Congressional committee that a tooth placed in a glass of Coke would dissolve overnight. The thought process behind this was that Coke contains three acids – phosphoric acid, citric acid, and carbonic acid – and they would dissolve the tooth.
The truth of the matter is that Coke won’t dissolve your teeth. Prolonged exposure to Coke might weaken the enamel coating of a tooth, but this would take weeks and weeks, and we think it’s pretty unlikely that you’re going to hold onto a mouthful of Coke for a few weeks at a time.
So, while we still don’t encourage people to drink a lot of soft drinks because they contain a lot of calories and can stain your teeth, your teeth aren’t going to rot and fall out if you enjoy the occasion carbonated beverage. Just make sure that you brush and floss your teeth properly, visit your family dentist on a regular basis, and if you do have stained teeth we can help you whiten your smile!
You Should Stop Brushing and Flossing If Your Gums Bleed
This is about as silly as they can get. In fact, quite the opposite is true – if your gums are bleeding it might be because you’re not brushing and flossing enough!
One of the main reasons why your gums can bleed is because they get inflamed if there is a buildup of plaque along your gum line. The way to deal with this is to actually brush and floss more to remove the plaque and so the gums can return to health.
If your gums are sore and bleed when you’re brushing your teeth then you might want to take care to brush more gently, but you shouldn’t stop brushing or flossing. You can also rinse your mouth out with salt water after you brush – salt is a natural disinfectant and will help reduce the swelling. However, don’t use a salt water rinse for prolonged periods of time as salt water is acidic and can soften the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to chips, cavities and wear.
Another common reason for bleeding gums is if you’re using a hard bristled tooth brush. Some people believe that you should use a stiff bristled toothbrush because they do a better job of cleaning the plaque off your teeth, but getting a coarse bristled toothbrush can actually inflame the gums and cause gum recession, exposing the tooth root.
We recommend softer bristled toothbrushes and that you don’t press too hard or scrub your teeth too vigorously when you’re brushing your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Products Weaken Your Teeth
This is another myth that might have some foundation in truth, but only in an extreme sense.
Most popular teeth whitening products contain bleach ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain 3 – 10% concentrations, whereas dentists can use teeth whitening products at higher concentrations (15 – 38%) and are therefore more effective.
Teeth whiteners simply bleach the pigment in the surface of the teeth, causing your teeth to look whiter and brighter. While using teeth whitening products too much can lead to sensitive teeth and gums, we’re not aware of any weakening effects on the enamel.
So like Coke, unless you’re soaking your teeth in teeth whiteners for weeks and weeks at a time – a silly and impractical scenario – using teeth whitening products won’t weaken your teeth.
So there they are, three dental myths that aren’t quite what your grandmother might have you believe. What’s common to all three of these myths is that if you practice good oral hygiene, brush and floss your teeth regularly, and visit your family dentist on a regular basis, you’re well on your way to having a bright and beautiful smile.
If you are looking for a Scarborough dentist or dental office in Milton, we’d love you to check us out! Contact our Scarborough dental office at (416) 291 – 0306 or our Milton dental clinic at (905) 636 – 9770 – we provide a full range of dental services including regular checkups, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants and much more!