5 Oral Hygiene Myths Debunked

With today’s easy access to information and all sorts of “alternative facts” floating around out there, it’s easy to get confused about what’s believable and what should be ignored.  In particular, there are plenty of warped “alternative facts” about keeping a good healthy mouth.  Let us help you by letting you know which myths need to be ignored immediately!


Myth:  White Teeth are Healthy Teeth

A glamorous white smile doesn’t necessarily mean you have healthy teeth.  Most people focus on the surface area of the teeth to determine whether they have a healthy smile.  But it’s important to know that our teeth is more than just the visible surface area.  Some people with the whitest smile have severe issues past the gums or even behind the teeth.  They may never floss!  It’s not to say that white teeth DOESN’T equal a healthy smile, it’s just to say this is not a determining factor.  Not to mention the fact that our teeth will naturally discolor as we age.  So, even though you may have shiny pearly whites, you want to make sure you visit the dentist regularly to check between and behind the teeth for any issues as well as keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that doesn’t just involve brushing (source, source).

Myth:  Brushing Bleeding Gums is Bad For You

Admittedly, it can be off putting to see your spitting up some blood when you brush your teeth.  You may even notice it as you floss.  Too many people assume it’s from brushing too hard and so they choose to take it easy on the brushing or even skip a few brushes and opt for rinsing with mouthwash instead.  This is the WRONG thing to do.  You want to consider brushing your teeth, because this is the first step to dealing with bleeding gums.  If your gums are bleeding, you may have a case of gingivitis or plaque buildup beyond your gumline.  It’s important to continue with your brushing routine as well as make an appointment with your dentist, as soon as possible.  Another tip when dealing with bleeding gums is instead of rinsing with water, rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash (source, source).

Myth:  Tooth Decay & Cavities is Mainly Caused by Sugar

This is not to say sugar DOESN’T cause cavities and tooth decay, but it is not the MAIN cause.  It’s not an issue of staying away from sugar all together, but knowing what to do when consuming more sugar than normal (a party, Thanksgiving, etc.) and keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine.  Bacteria in the mouth needs sugar to survive, so when you consume more sugar, you’re basically feeding the bacteria in your mouth.  Bacteria, sugar, and acid all leave to an unhealthy mouth.  Instead of completely staying away from sugar, watch your sugar intake and brush your teeth or rinse after consuming sugar.  It’s important you understand that it’s not the sugar that is causing your cavities, it’s the lack of oral hygiene (source, source).

Myth:  Brushing More Makes Your Teeth Healthier

This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be brushing your teeth more, and it also depends on other factors and who you are.  Brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day is a pretty good routine to keep up with.  Once  you start brushing above that, it can maybe start causing damage to your enamel.  Plus, if you’re using a more abrasive toothpaste and using a harder toothbrush, you may be doing more damage to your teeth.  Keep the brushing to 2-3 times a day with a soft to medium toothbrush.  And doing anything out of the ordinary, such as eating something with a lot of processed sugar, can call for a quick brush (source).

Myth:  It’s Not Necessary to Visit the Dentist

I’m not just saying this because we’re a Dentist office, I’m saying this because it is the absolute truth!  Visiting the dentist is often seen as more of a luxury than a necessity, but that’s a common misconception.  Part of keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine is visiting the dentist at twice a year.  Your dentist can address a lot of issues you cannot check, such as things happening below the surface, gum disease, and even detecting for oral cancer.  Make sure you’re making your appointments and not skipping out on seeing us on a regular basis (source).

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Dr. Del Greenhalgh
Green Family Dental
10510 Montwood Drive
El Paso, TX 79935
(915) 778-4681