True or false: brushing your teeth right after eating is the best way to protect your smile?
FALSE! Don’t believe us? Well, you should believe Dr. Timothy Chase of SmilesNY, who has been practicing cosmetic and restorative dentistry for over 17 years. We asked Dr. Chase to dispel some common dental myths, and help us separate the fact from fiction. So grab your toothbrush, get some floss, and read on to keep your pearly-whites looking great.
Myth #1: You should see a dentist every 6 months
According to Dr. Chase, your visit to the dentist should be based on your individual needs. Many studies have shown that plaque and calculus build up in as little as 90 days, which leads to inflammation and infection that can affect your entire body. So if you want a really healthy smile, and body, having your teeth cleaned 4 times a year is the way to go.
Myth #2: Brushing right after you eat or drink is the best way to protect your smile
Whenever you eat, the acids in your food and in your saliva weaken the enamel, the hard protective covering of the teeth. Brushing your teeth right after eating can lead to tooth abrasions or loss of the enamel and may lead to sensitive teeth. Dr. Chase recommends waiting a half hour or rinsing your mouth with water before brushing to help protect your teeth.
Myth #3: Electronic toothbrushes are better than regular brushes.
Yes, studies show that high-quality electric toothbrushes with soft bristles clean better than manual tooth brushes.
Myth #4: If I have no pain I don’t need to see a dentist.
Many dental issues do not cause pain until they have progressed very far – for example, a root canal. Gum disease, on the other hand, may not cause any pain at all. Seeing your dentist regularly is the only way to ensure you don’t have any of these issues.
Myth #5: Whitening toothpastes are the best way to whiten teeth.
The best way to whiten your teeth and keep them white is to visit your dentist and have him do an in office whitening or make you custom trays, because whitening toothpastes do very little to whiten teeth. The material dentists use is stronger, has less sensitivity, and works better. Use regular toothpaste with fluoride to keep your teeth looking great and cavity-free.
Myth #6: Mouthwash gives you fresh breath.
Most mouthwashes cover bad breath but they do not treat the underlying cause. Bad breath can be caused by bacteria in your mouth, cavities, gum disease, or it may be the sign of other medical issues. Your dentist can help rule out dental issues as the cause. If you like using mouthwash, go with an alcohol-free brand, because the alcohol in mouthwash will dry out your mouth.
Myth #7: Sugar free gum is a good way to clean your teeth if you can’t brush.
The gum increases saliva flow and removes food particles that may be trapped in the teeth. So chew away!
Myth #8: Flossing is as important as brushing.
Flossing removes almost ½ of the bacteria and food particles that are found in your mouth after you eat; not flossing means your only doing half the job!
Myth #9: In order to prevent cavities, you need to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes.
Yes, two minutes, twice a day. And if you are not flossing you are missing half the spots where harmful bacteria hides that causes cavities and gum disease.
Myth #10: If you don’t eat sweets often, you don’t need to brush your teeth often.
Removing the bacteria from your mouth is important no matter what you eat, because many foods are broken down into sugars. What are the worst offenders for your grill? Foods that stick to the teeth like raisins and fruit rollups, along with foods that have a high acid content, for example citrus fruits.
Myth #11: Hard bristles are better for your teeth than soft bristles.
The softer the better for bristles – hard or medium bristles can damage teeth and cause gum recession.
Myth #12: Drinking coffee and other dark liquids through a straw will keep your teeth brighter, longer than drinking out of the cup.
Drinking dark colored liquids through a straw may reduce some of the staining of the teeth.
Dan Cassidy is CEO and Founder of Inspiyr.com, a personal growth site helping people be healthy, happy and successful. A confirmed self-improvement junkie, Dan is a former collegiate athlete, personal trainer and advertising executive.
Featured photo by Shermeee