There’s often the saying that “your mouth is a window to your health.” Indeed, good oral hygiene can give you the confidence to smile and not worry about bad breath or poor impressions. However, there is still much confusion about how to get cleaner teeth. Let’s debunk the most common myths about your dental health.
1. Brushing Teeth Hard Is The Best Way To Do It
We all know the importance of regular teeth cleaning. It seems intuitive that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will get. But surprisingly, it is one of the bad habits that drive dentists crazy.
It is not the force that matters, but the correct brushing technique:
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If you are like most people who rush to finish before two minutes are up, you are most likely brushing too hard and thinking it’ll be the same. But it’s not.
Then, Is Brushing teeth too hard bad for your teeth?
Brushing too aggressively can indeed harm your teeth by wearing away the hard enamel and even the gums. These structures are crucial for protecting the inside of your teeth from cavities and decay.
2. Brushing Teeth Shortly After Eating Is More Effective
By brushing too soon after eating, you are actually attacking your teeth!
Don’t believe it? Here’s the reason.
Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your whole body that protects your teeth. However, sugary drinks and food that contain citric acid, such as lemons, can make it more acidic inside your mouth and erode your protective enamel. As a result, your teeth are at a weakened and more vulnerable state after meals. If you brush shortly after eating, even soft-bristled toothbrushes can become abrasive and damage the already weakened enamel.
Fortunately, your body is equipped to balance high acid levels as your saliva wash away food particles. This returns the pH to a normal level where enamel can continue to protect your teeth. To help wash away the food particles and speed up the restoration of a proper pH, you can also drink a glass of water after eating.
When is the best moment for brushing teeth?
The best moment for brushing teeth is when the pH in your mouth is properly balanced. That means waiting for at least 30 minutes after food or before eating citric foods.
The consensus is that the best time for brushing teeth is before breakfast and before bed. During a long night’s sleep, a lot of bacteria can accumulate in the mouth, brushing before breakfast can remove these bacteria instead of feeding them. By brushing before bed, you can remove bacteria that has accumulated throughout the day and prevent them from damaging your enamel during sleep.
3. Not Consuming Sugar Will Avoid Tooth Decay
While there is no doubt that sugar is a major cause of tooth decay, not only sugar is dangerous. Starchy foods that contain refined carbohydrates can also produce bacteria and make your mouth more acidic. Some examples are:
In addition, acidic foods like citrus fruits and fruit juice can also erode your enamel. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating them can help remove some acids.
Substances that make your mouth dry
When your mouth is dry, less saliva is available for balancing the pH in your mouth and more bacteria can accumulate. Alcohol and many medicines can make your mouth dry and predispose you to tooth decay.
4. Brushing Teeth With Charcoal Toothpaste Is The Best Way To Get Whiter Teeth
Charcoal teeth whitening (in any way, shape, or form) has become one of the healthy trends lately. It is thought that charcoal may help remove surface stains and supposedly make your teeth whiter.
However, there is no evidence that charcoal toothpaste actually has that effect. In fact, the American Dental Association warns that non-dentist-approved charcoal toothpaste is likely too abrasive, which may even cause enamel erosion. In addition, many charcoal toothpastes do not contain fluoride, the mineral that helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay.
If brushing teeth with charcoal toothpaste isn’t the best way, what is it?
A toothpaste containing fluoride is the most effective for preventing cavities. Other ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide can help dissolve stains to some extent. The Mayo Clinic recommends choosing a toothpaste that is approved by a reputable dental organization such as the American Dental Association to ensure it is safe and effective. Depending on your oral hygiene goals, the best toothpastes may contain different formulations.
However, it is important to note that most whitening toothpastes will not whiten your teeth to a noticeably different level as they mostly just stop the stain buildup and further decoloration. To truly change the appearance of yellow teeth, you will need to use more advanced teeth whitening kits. Most of these products contain a blue LED whitening light, similar to what your dentist would use. Blue light is an effective activation agent for hydrogen peroxide, which enhances the teeth whitening process.
5. Teeth Alignment Is Just For Kids
Many adults shy away from braces because of the perception that they are only for kids. But the fact is teeth alignment is important for anyone and it’s never too late to get orthodontic treatment. In addition, teeth can naturally shift positions as we age and re-alignment is necessary to prevent teeth or gum problems.
But metal braces look unappealing, right?
The good news is that better technology is now available to make braces less noticeable and painful. Clear aligner aligners with unsightly brackets are easily removable and have no food restrictions. These new braces work by gradually nudging the teeth into the proper position. You are required to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours a day for a period of 6 to 18 months. If you are interested in learn more about it, we recommend checking our guide to the top six brands of clear aligners.
6. Brushing Teeth Is Enough To Maintain Good Dental Health
Why do people still get gum problems when they religiously follow the “2 times, 2 minutes” brushing rule? Well, brushing alone is not enough for good dental hygiene as damages can still occur where your toothbrush can’t reach.
Other Dental Myths about Your Oral Health Routine
1. Gum disease is not that common
Just because we don’t give our gum much attention doesn’t mean that gum disease is not common. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47% of adults over the age of 30 have one form of gum disease or another. When you get to the 65+ age group, a shocking 64% suffers from either moderate or severe gum disease!
2. Diseases like diabetes cause gum diseases
Diabetes is a condition that affects the processing of sugar and can lead to high levels of glucose in your saliva, which encourages bacteria growth. However, having diabetes doesn’t mean that you are definitely going to get gum infections. Having a good oral hygiene routine can prevent gum diseases regardless of whether you have diabetes or other diseases. It is how you care for your gum and teeth that make all the difference.
1. Flossing can make your gum bleed
Improper flossing can cause bleeding, but it is still not an excuse for not flossing. You should hold the floss between your thumb and index finger and then slide it gently between your teeth. If you are still worried about bleeding, you can try alternative flossing tools like air flossers or water flossers.
2. Sugar-free gum is as good as brushing
While it is true that sugar-free gum can have a protective effect. It is only meant to promote saliva production and help wash away some acidic food residues. Chewing gum cannot remove plaque from surfaces of your teeth or under the gum. Therefore, you still need to brush and floss for good oral hygiene.
To sum up, having good oral hygiene is not as straightforward as you may think. But you should make it a priority if you care about your health! Following the tips mentioned in this article can potentially save stress, money, and time spent on fixing up your teeth. Make sure you ditch hard brushing and avoid falling into the trap of dentists and hygiene myths.