Oral Health

11 Common Dental Myths and Misconceptions

Knowing how best to maintain your teeth and gums can prevent a number of issues in the long-term. It’s safe to say that knowledge is power, and while we have heard some crazy dental myths and misconceptions over the years, understanding what is true and what isn’t can help keep your teeth in tip-top shape in-between visits to the dentist. 

New developments in dentistry and recent findings have now made it clear of how you can look after your teeth at home. Interested in some of the common dental myths we hear from our patients? Here are our top 11…

1. Only Sugar Causes Tooth Decay

While eating too much sugar can increase your risk of tooth decay, there are other factors that can also contribute too. This means that even if you don’t have a lot of sugar in your diet, you can still very much be at risk of cavities.

Tooth decay can also be caused by food and drink high in carbohydrates, including starchy foods. We recommend cutting down on starchy foods or foods containing high amounts of sugar and to look after your teeth and gums.

It’s also important to know the signs in order to visit your dentist at the right time. Some of these symptoms include a toothache (or occasional sharp pain), bad breath, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, grey, brown or black spots appearing on your teeth and tooth sensitivity.

2. White Teeth Are Healthy Teeth

We understand that we all desire to have a beautiful white smile, however, a white smile doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth are healthy. This also means that just because your teeth are white, it doesn’t mean that there is no need for you to visit the dentist. 

You can still have white teeth and be suffering from cavities, infections or other conditions, so it’s crucial to understand that the colour of your teeth can vary and visiting your dentist should still be your routine.

It’s impossible for natural teeth to remain completely white and eventually begin to yellow due to lifestyle factors and the foods/drinks we consume. Of course, there are teeth whitening treatments available if you wish to brighten the shades of your teeth. 

3. It’s Safe to Have Teeth Whitened at a Beauty Salon

Whitening teeth may leave the underlying cause of discolouration unaddressed, which is why it’s always best to visit your dentist for teeth whitening rather than visiting beauty clinics or salons.

Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should therefore only be carried out by a regulated dental professional. Over recent years, we have seen a countless number of beauty salons becoming prosecuted for illegal teeth whitening.

4. You’re Too Old for Braces

Many patients visit the Perfect Smile Spa clinic as they are embarrassed about their uneven smile, but at the same time are against the idea of orthodontics due to their age. Although it’s more common for children and young adults to have orthodontic treatment, we are seeing more and more adults (of all ages) opt for orthodontics, particularly as there are discreet orthodontics available, such as invisible braces and Invisalign

Advances in these orthodontics to offer more discreet options mean that adults who weren’t able to address their orthodontic issues when they were younger are now able to address them now.

5. Baby Teeth Do Not Need to Be Brushed

Despite baby teeth only being temporary, it’s crucial to have good brushing habits in order to also have healthy gums. By using the correct brushing technique and brushing twice a day, the build-up of plaque can be prevented and therefore the risks of tooth decay and gum disease reduced.

As tooth decay is a rising problem among children, it’s important to understand the importance of starting good oral hygiene habits early in order to keep the gums, teeth and mouth as healthy as possible. Tooth decay is also the leading reason for the hospital admission of children.

Reducing the amount and frequency of sugar intake and practising good oral hygiene can be a great place to start, but it’s vital to maintain good oral hygiene at any age.

6. Flossing Isn’t Important

Maintaining oral hygiene isn’t just about brushing your teeth and using mouthwash. An important step missed out by many patients is dental flossing, which is crucial for removing bacteria and cleaning between the teeth. As particles of food can also become stuck between the teeth, flossing is one of the most important steps in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and can even remove up to 80% of plaque.

While brushing can clean the surfaces of the teeth, flossing can clean around a third of the tooth surface, which a normal toothbrush would be unable to do. Brush, rinse and floss!

7. Bad Teeth and Gums Are Inherited

Even though this would be an interesting fact, it isn’t actually true. However, the spacing, size and alignment of your teeth are inherited.

With that being said, it’s impossible to inherit bad teeth or poor gums as these will only occur due to lifestyle factors and how well you take care of your teeth.

8.Brushing After Eating

One myth that shocks a lot of our patients is that it’s better to brush your teeth after eating breakfast in the morning. While many of us believe that brushing after breakfast will mean we can start our day with clean and fresh teeth free of food, it has been scientifically proven that brushing your teeth before breakfast can have a better effect on your teeth and gums.

You should never brush your teeth immediately after eating as your teeth will be weaker due to the pH level in your mouth. While we know it makes more sense to brush after having breakfast, this can be harmful to your protective enamel.

Brushing your teeth before breakfast can rid the mouth of plaque build-up overnight. This is why we recommend waiting at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after having a meal.

9. Bleeding Gums Are Normal

Even though 90% of the adult population experience some form of bleeding gums, it doesn’t mean that this is normal and should be left to take care of itself.

Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing is due to the inflammation of the gums. In many cases, this can be due to gum disease or gingivitis, as well as excessive plaque buildup. If you have noticed your gums are bleeding when you brush, you must visit a dentist as soon as you can.

10. It’s Okay to Drink Soft Drinks If They Are ‘Diet’

Yes, soft drinks do contain high amounts of sugar, and while we all admit to having a soft drink every once in a while, it’s important to have limits and drink water as much as possible. 

The acidity in soft drinks can be damaging to the teeth, meaning that even ‘diet’ drinks can be damaging to the teeth. Over time, soft drinks can wear down the enamel, leaving you at a higher risk of cavities, sensitivity or even tooth loss. Even the natural sugars in some fruit juices can be just as damaging.

11. Root Canal Treatment Is Extremely Painful

Is root canal treatment painful? We’ve all heard that root canal treatment is extremely painful, which is why when patients visit us for endodontics, they are usually very concerned about the level of pain.

However, dentistry has come a long way. The procedure itself provides very little pain, but it’s usually the tooth infection that causes any excruciating pain. Ironically, root canal treatment can take this pain away, so there’s really nothing to worry about. 

Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatments aren’t as painful as they seem. As a dentist in Essex, we offer painless dentistry and aim to make dental treatments as pain-free as possible. 

With painless dental treatments held as one of our core values, we take our time to make sure every care is taken to make you feel comfortable and provide a positive dental experience that will help you defeat your dental anxiety and any fears relating to having a root canal treatment.

How Can We Help?

Our cosmetic dentists have numerous dentistry awards as they use the most advanced equipment and aim to offer painless dentistry for nervous patients, including the option for sedation for optimum comfort.

At Perfect Smile Spa, we recognise how important a smile is to our patients and we pride ourselves by giving our patients the most pleasant dental experience to enable them to overcome any fears and maintain their teeth for the rest of their lives.

Our dental practice is located in Essex and is easily accessible from most areas around the UK. For more information on our cosmetic dental treatments, please get in touch with us or call us on 01708 442 114.