The Truth Behind 6 of the Most Common Dental Health Misconceptions

Woman smiling with healthy teeth

There are various misconceptions floating around when it comes to dental health. Although you can generally achieve proper dental health by practicing good oral hygiene daily, there are certain bad practices that could lead to irreversible damage. In this light, here are six misconceptions on dental heath:

Misconception #1: You don’t have to visit your dentist if you don’t feel or see any issues with your dental health.

The Truth: The thing with not getting regular dental checkups is that if you wait to see or feel symptoms, it usually means that it’s a bigger problem. For instance, waiting for a cavity to hurt to have it checked can lead to you having to undergo a tooth extraction or a root canal, which you can prevent if you just visit your dentist regularly. Put simply, regular dental checkups help your dentist prevent something from happening before it becomes a bigger problem.

Misconception #2: You need to brush harder to clean your teeth better.

The Truth: Brushing your teeth aggressively using a toothbrush with firm or medium bristles can push back your gums and erode your teeth’s enamel, which safeguards your teeth against decay and cavities. The key to cleaner teeth is to brush gently but thoroughly for two minutes at the least.

Misconception #3: Your dentist won’t know that you have bad dental health habits as long as you thoroughly brush your teeth before your checkup.

The Truth: Unfortunately, your go-to dentist in Vienna, Virginia will be able to tell. If you fail to practice proper oral care habits, hard tartar, which brushing alone can’t eliminate, will eventually develop around your teeth. Your dentist will also be able to see gum inflammation.

Misconception #4: Chewing gum that is sugar-free is just as effective as brushing your teeth.

The Truth: Sugar-free gum, particularly those kinds with xylitol, can help protect your teeth since it promotes the production of saliva. This can help get rid of acids from drinks and food that are harmful to your teeth’s enamel. However, you should never replace regular brushing and flossing with chewing gum because only proper brushing and flossing can eliminate plaque from all angles.

Misconception #5: Sugar is the biggest contributor to cavities.

The Truth: It’s common to think that cavities are due to eating sticky and sweet food, but the American Dental Association (ADA) states that bread and crackers might actually be worse because of their inherent starchiness. Basically, the reason for this is that carbs break down into sugar and stick to the teeth.

Misconception #6: Gum disease affects only your dental health.

Set of teeth with healthy gums

The Truth: Studies have shown that plenty of people with gum disease also have various health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and specific kinds of cancer associated with chronic inflammation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll develop these health issues if you have gum disease, though. It basically means that gum disease might be a warning sign of another health issue not related to dental health.

Now that you know what’s fact and what’s fiction, you are now better informed about proper oral care habits. You have no excuses.