My teeth look fine, so I don’t need to go to the dentist. Flossing isn’t necessary as long as I use an electric toothbrush. My gums bleed a bit when brushing, but it’s nothing to worry about. If you have fallen victim to believing these common dental myths, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, misconceptions about oral hygiene have spread far and wide over the years. As a result, millions of people suffer from the consequences brought on by wrong information. In an effort to curb this, let a local New Orleans dentist debunk four of the most common myths and help you achieve better oral health.
MYTH #1: BRUSHING HARDER MAKES YOUR TEETH CLEANER
If you abide by this theory, you will do more damage to your teeth than you realize. Brushing too hard can do several things, including:
- Erode tooth enamel
- Make you more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay
- Lead to tooth sensitivity
All that is required to effectively brush your teeth is a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle movements. It’s also best to stay away from abrasive toothpaste, as this can also be damaging to your teeth.
MYTH #2: FLOSSING ISN’T NECESSARY
Although some experts believe that flossing isn’t necessary anymore for better oral health, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dentist who agrees with this theory. Flossing is an effective way to remove harmful bacteria and food particles from in-between teeth, and it is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. This is one of the reasons you will likely have your teeth flossed during a dental cleaning. So, instead of buying into this idea that it’s not something you need to do, stick to whatever your dentist recommends for healthier teeth and gums.
MYTH #3: IF I BRUSH BEFORE MY APPOINTMENT, THE DENTIST WILL NEVER KNOW
This one might make your dentist and dental team chuckle. As sly as you think you might be, it’s not hard for them to notice if you haven’t been brushing and flossing as you should. Once plaque and tartar form around your teeth, it doesn’t matter how much you brush, it won’t come off. Also, if gum disease is present, your gums will be inflamed, and that is certainly something you can’t do anything about at home. These require the tools found in your dentist’s office, so if you think spending a few days before your appointment will get you off the hook for a conversation about better oral hygiene, sorry, but you’re out of luck.
MYTH #4: GUM DISEASE ONLY AFFECTS YOUR MOUTH
Even if this were true, dentists would still urge you to seek treatment sooner rather than later. However, it is not, which makes gum disease all-the-more dangerous if left untreated. Here’s why: When the infection and inflammation attacking your soft oral tissues enters the bloodstream, it can spread to your brain, heart, lungs, and other areas of your body. The result can be neurological disorders, respiratory disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, or stroke. This is why receiving periodontal treatment is necessary, so as to prevent not only bone and tooth loss but also serious health conditions.
Now that you know the truth about a few of these common myths, spread the word! Help someone else take back their oral health by keeping misinformation from spreading.
About the Author
Dr. Todd Canatella completed his undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University (LSU) before enrolling in the university’s School of Dentistry and achieving his dental degree. After graduation, he completed a year-long study course in implant placement at the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Canatella and his team are proud to serve the people of New Orleans and the surrounding communities by providing comprehensive services to help maintain, restore, rebuild, and improve smiles. To learn how we can help you, visit our website.