There are various myths about teeth that have been floating around for years. You may have even found yourself believing in some of them. Here are some of the more common ones:
Brush after every meal
The popular belief is that you need to brush your teeth after breakfast, lunch, and dinner in order to keep them clean and healthy. This is probably overkill and could, in some cases, harm your gums. Dentists suggest that you brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before bedtime.
Your teeth have natural defenses against bacteria. The tooth enamel is a hard coating that protects the teeth. You produce saliva that contains enzymes to break down the starches that you eat. Your saliva also contains antibacterial substances to keep your mouth healthy.
Right after you eat, the environment in your mouth turns acidic to help break down the food. The acid can temporarily soften the enamel of the teeth. When you brush after you eat, you could damage your teeth. If you do want to brush after eating, try waiting for at least 30 minutes to an hour after brushing.
Mothers-to-be should not visit the dentist
This myth is founded on the idea that pain medications taken by a mother during a dental visit could harm the fetus. But not seeing the dentist, particularly if you are having dental problems, could lead to an even worse result.
The local anesthetics that your dentist may use are safe, even for pregnant women. Just make sure to inform the dentist that you are pregnant.
Bleaching weakens your teeth
Teeth whitening products, which come in the form of trays, paste, or strips, whiten the teeth by removing the stain or pigment on the surface of the enamel. Hydrogen peroxide is the most common substance used as a teeth whitener.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening products usually use 3 to 10 percent hydrogen peroxide. Dental hygienists use as much as 15 to 38 percent of hydrogen peroxide when they clean your teeth in conjunction with checkups. Thus, over-the-counter teeth whitening products will have less of an effect than your regular visits to the dentist.
Temperature changes can crack your teeth
While extreme temperature swings could be harmful to the integrity of your teeth, the temperature of most food products cannot be classified as extreme. Eating ice cream after you drink coffee will not harm your teeth.
Don’t let urban legends or rumor mills influence your dental health. Always consult your dentist for the last word on oral health care.