Bigfoot. Nessie. Stress-free parenting. So many myths, so little time. (That’s actually a myth too — time is infinite; it’s our container that’s small.)
And when it comes to dental care, there are plenty of myths too. When patients come into our dental office in Middleburg Heights, we like to set the record straight. Because in addition to cleanings and cavity prevention, we’re also in the dental education business. Here are the 5 most common myths people get wrong about dental care, explained.
Most Cavities are Caused by Sugar
Let’s be clear: Eating and drinking anything high in sugar will definitely increase your risk for cavities. But sugar is by no means the only culprit. Starch and carbohydrates can be just as bad. In fact, crackers and chips can be similar to candy in many ways. These foods tend to stick to your teeth. And let’s not forget highly acidic foods and drinks like orange juice, certain fruits, and other juices.
You Need to Brush Hard for Clean Teeth
As a kid, you were probably told, “Scrub those chops!” — like your mouth’s a dirty dish or sink. That’s the best approach for cleaning a bathtub, not so much when it comes to teeth. Your enamel and gums are actually highly sensitive. Brushing too hard can wear off the enamel and beat up your gums. It actually can lead to poor dental health. Overly harsh brushing can lead to tooth sensitivity and increases the risk of cavities.
That’s why we always recommend a soft toothbrush. The bristles will be more gentle on your teeth. Brush thoroughly but gently. Be soothing. Your gums shouldn’t ache afterward. If they do, talk to your dentist.
Diet Sodas Get a Pass
Diet sodas may be low in sugar, but that doesn’t mean they’re not bad for your teeth. Diet sodas are highly acidic and can cause the same amount of dental erosion as regular sodas. The bacteria that lead to cavities also love acid just as much as sugar. This acid can eat away at the enamel and cause tooth sensitivity, leading to tooth decay.
Other highly acidic beverages such as orange juices and other citric juices can cause similar damage. To stay hydrated, stick to water, vegetable juice, or milk.
Age Causes Poor Dental Health
Age doesn’t need to be an overwhelming driver in dental health. Some people are able to take care of their teeth during their childhood and still have healthy teeth in their sunset years.
And just because you’re young, you don’t get a pass on dental health. At our Middleburg Heights dental office, we often see patients in their 20s and 30s with serious tooth decay issues. Some even need dentures and bridges. The lesson here is dental care should be a top priority no matter how old or young you are. The better we care for our teeth, the longer they’ll last.
You Only Need to See a Dentist if You’re in Pain
You knew we were going to talk about this. Most people don’t admit they believe this dental care myth, but it’s prevalent nonetheless. You tell yourself: “I’m not in pain, so I don’t need to see the dentist.” But many dental issues don’t actually hurt until the problem has hit the root — literally, and that often means you need a root canal or an extraction.
That’s why we recommend routine checkups, ideally every 6 months. This way we can nip problems in the bud when they’re small and relatively inexpensive. Regular visits are actually a great way to save on dental care in the long run.