10 Common Misconceptions About Dental Hygiene: Separating Fact from Fiction

Importance of Good Oral Health

Good oral health is the cornerstone of a radiant smile and overall well-being. Yet, dental hygiene myths and misconceptions about dentistry persist, leading people to make poor decisions when caring for their teeth and gums. If you have questions about dental hygiene, debunk these 10 prevalent myths and bring clarity to your oral care routine.
Oral Health Care at Donahue Dental

Common Myths About Oral Health

Myth 1: Bleeding Gums Are Normal

Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, bring this up at your next dentist appointment. But whatever you do, don’t stop brushing in an attempt to allow your gums to heal. After all, bleeding gums may indicate that your brushing regimen needs more consistency and attention, not less. Gum health is essential, so it’s important to straighten out these dental hygiene facts and myths.

Myth 2: Sensitive Teeth Are a Sign of Cavities

While cavities can indeed cause sensitivity, they are not the sole cause. Tooth sensitivity can also result from worn enamel, a cracked tooth, gum disease, or exposed roots. For an accurate diagnosis, consult your dentist if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity. Something as simple as switching to toothpaste for sensitive teeth could be all you need to relieve your discomfort.

Myth 3: More Sugar Results in More Cavities

Sugar undoubtedly plays a role in tooth decay, but the crucial factor is the duration that sugar remains on your teeth, not the amount you eat. Snacking on candy or sipping on juice throughout the day is like giving your teeth a prolonged sugar bath, contributing to cavity formation. After giving into your sweet tooth, rinse your mouth with water. Daily brushing and flossing also mitigate the risk of cavities.

Myth 4: Bleaching Weakens Teeth

Many patients voice concerns that teeth bleaching can weaken teeth. You’ll be pleased to learn that this is a myth. Professional teeth whitening is completely safe and doesn’t affect the health or structure of your teeth. Just remember to follow your dentist’s instructions to ensure optimal results and lessen temporary sensitivity that may occur after whitening.

Myth 5: Applying Aspirin Directly to Teeth Is an Effective Toothache Remedy

Although aspirin can provide temporary relief, applying it directly to your teeth or gums is not recommended. This can lead to an aspirin burn, damaging your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth. Instead, swallow aspirin pills for pain relief the intended way. You can also ask your dentist to recommend a topical pain reliever.

Myth 6: Cavities in Baby Teeth Don’t Matter

The idea behind this dentistry myth is that baby teeth fall out, so it doesn’t matter if they get cavities. In reality, untreated cavities in baby teeth can cause severe discomfort and infection and may even affect the development of adult teeth. This means maintaining your child’s dental hygiene is as important as caring for your own.

Myth 7: Your Oral Health Doesn’t Affect Your General Health

Many people separate oral health from general health, but they are interconnected. Poor oral health can contribute to endocarditis and cardiovascular disease, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Similarly, certain conditions like diabetes and HIV/AIDS can negatively impact oral health. This is why regular dental check-ups are vital for maintaining your oral and overall health.

Myth 8: Everyone Can Safely Use Metal Fillings

Also known as amalgam fillings, metal fillings have been used safely for years. However, some people are allergic to the metals used in these fillings. In such cases, other filling materials, such as composite resin or ceramic, may be more suitable. Plus, these tooth-colored fillings are more aesthetically pleasing. Consult your dentist to find the most appropriate filling material for your needs.

Myth 9: Frequent Brushing Causes Teeth to Wear Down

While brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage tooth enamel over time, normal brushing habits involving a soft-bristled brush and proper technique will not wear down your teeth. In fact, regular brushing is crucial for preventing plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Myth 10: Flossing Is Not Necessary if You Brush Regularly

While brushing cleans the surface of your teeth effectively, it cannot fully reach the spaces in between and along the gum line. That’s where flossing comes in. Even if you’re great about brushing twice a day, flossing should be a part of your daily oral hygiene routine to remove hard-to-reach food particles and plaque.

We’re Here to Help

At Donahue Dental, we believe in education and preventative dental care. Using the latest technology, our experienced and friendly team provides comprehensive dental services tailored to your needs. We proudly offer a comfortable environment where our patients feel at ease, knowing their smiles are our top priority. For answers to any remaining questions about dental hygiene or to schedule an appointment in St. Charles or St. Peters, MO, please call us at (636) 946-6117.