Oral health is often taken for granted. On top of that, there are numerous misconceptions and myths around it. People follow vague oral care practices or outright ignore their dental well-being because of these misconceptions and myths.
If persisted, these myths can deteriorate your teeth, gums and overall well-being in the future!
In this blog post, we will debunk five common myths around oral health and provide the right recommendation to help you maintain a healthy smile.
Myth 1: It doesn’t matter what time of the day I brush
As general practice, at FHFD we recommend our patients to brush teeth at least twice a day. Now, does that mean any time of the day? No! Brushing at a certain time does impact your oral health.
Saliva provides cleansing effect to the mouth and washes away food particles preventing decay and cavity. As a result, generally those with dry mouth (whether naturally or due to medication) have more cavities because they have less natural saliva cleansing their mouth.
Now, at night when we sleep, our salivary glands produce less saliva. During the day the saliva flow is higher. So, when we don’t brush our teeth at night before bed, those food particles sit on our teeth all night and contribute to tooth decay over time. Brushing in the morning not only fights decay but also helps fight bad breath.
RIGHT PRACTICE: Brush at least twice a day: One time in morning and one time at night (especially if you have dry mouth). It is also important to brush right after consuming food and drink high in sugar and carbohydrates to prevent cavities.
Myth 2: Sugar is the main cause of cavities
As kids, we were often told sugar causes cavities. We were forbidden to eat chocolates at night. True, but it is not the only culprit.
Essentially, cavities are caused by the acid produced by bacteria that feed not only on the sugar but also starch in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugar and starch and form a sticky film called plaque that erodes your enamel over time. The more sugary and starchy foods and drinks you consume; the more acid is produced and the longer it stays on your teeth. Also, it is not only the amount of sugar you eat, but also the frequency and duration of exposure that matters.
RIGHT PRACTICE: To prevent cavities, limit your intake of sugary and starchy foods and drinks, especially between meals, and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking them. You should also visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings, and use fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash to strengthen your enamel.
Myth 3: Flossing is not necessary
Flossing is often overlooked or skipped by many people, who think that brushing alone is enough to keep their teeth clean. However, flossing is essential to remove the plaque and food particles that get stuck between your teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. If left untreated, these can cause cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral problems. Flossing also helps to stimulate your gums and prevent them from bleeding or receding.
RIGHT PRACTICE: You should floss at least once a day, preferably before brushing, using a gentle up-and-down motion to slide the floss between your teeth. You should also use a clean section of floss for each tooth and avoid snapping or forcing the floss into your gums.
Myth 4: Whitening products are safe and effective.
Whitening products are very popular among people who want to brighten their smile, but they are not always safe or effective. Whitening products work by bleaching the surface of your teeth with harsh chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, which can cause sensitivity, irritation, inflammation, or damage to your enamel and gums if used incorrectly or excessively. Whitening products also do not work on all types of stains or discolorations, such as those caused by trauma, medication, or aging. Some whitening products may also contain abrasive ingredients that can scratch or wear away your enamel over time.
RIGHT PRACTICE: The best way to whiten your teeth safely and effectively is to consult your dentist before using any whitening product, and follow their instructions carefully. You should also avoid smoking, drinking coffee, tea, wine, or other staining substances, and maintain good oral hygiene habits.
Myth 5: Bad breath is always a sign of poor oral hygiene.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a common problem that affects many people at some point in their lives. While poor oral hygiene is one of the main causes of bad breath, it is not the only one. Bad breath can also be caused by factors such as dry mouth, infections, medications, diseases, diet, smoking, alcohol, or stress. Some of these factors can affect the balance of bacteria in your mouth or produce volatile compounds that emit unpleasant odours.
RIGHT PRACTICE: To prevent or treat bad breath, you should brush your teeth twice a day and clean your tongue with a scraper or toothbrush. You should also floss daily, use an antibacterial mouthwash or rinse with water after eating or drinking anything that may cause bad breath. You should also drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
If you have persistent or severe bad breath that does not improve with these measures, you should see your dentist or doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
We hope this blog helped you debunk 5 major myths around oral care and provided you with the right practice to improve your oral health and overall well-being for the future!