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When it comes to uncovering the truth about a healthy smile, fact and fiction can often be hard to tell apart. In this article, we’re busting a bunch of popular oral health myths and bringing you the real deal on how to keep your teeth and gums in the best health.
Actually, brushing your teeth too hard or with a brush that’s too abrasive can damage your teeth by eroding the protective layer of enamel on the tooth’s surface. Aggressive brushing can also wear down your gums and cause them to bleed and even recede. It’s best to use a soft bristled toothbrush and avoid applying too much pressure when brushing, as this won’t make your teeth any cleaner.
In fact, flossing your teeth at least once a day is a crucial part of a good oral hygiene routine. Flossing allows you to clean areas of your mouth that are hard to reach, such as in the small gaps between the teeth, enabling you to remove food particles and debris which can lead to bacteria development, causing oral health problems such as tooth decay and cavities.
Running short of time and think chewing a stick of gum on the run is a good substitute for brushing your teeth? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case - but that’s not to say that chewing gum doesn’t have its benefits. While it’s no replacement for brushing your teeth, chewing sugar-free gum encourages the production of salvia, which helps to wash away acid and sugar build-up on the teeth.
While you may think that sugary snacks such as lollies are the only culprit when it comes to causing cavities, starchy carbohydrates - such as those found in chips and crackers - can also be responsible. Carbohydrate-rich foods often contain sugars, so even savoury foods can lead to the formation of cavities. The best advice is to read food labels before you buy, so you can check the sugar content for yourself.
You’d be forgiven for assuming that gum disease is only a problem for your mouth. However, as the mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, oral health conditions such as gum disease can lead to health problems in other parts of the body. In some cases, untreated gum disease can increase your risk of a heart attack or other cardiovascular issues, as well as certain types of cancer.
Professional teeth whitening that’s performed under the supervision of your dentist (whether in the clinic or following instructions at home with a take-away whitening kit) is safe and effective, and won’t damage your teeth enamel. However, it’s important to be aware that some non-professional whitening solutions - such as those available to buy online - have been known to cause damage to teeth and gums, so it’s always best to choose a professional option.
Click here to learn more about professional teeth whitening at National Dental Care Group practices.
While the diet versions of your favourite sugar-laden soft drinks might seem like a healthy option, these beverages are usually highly acidic, which means they can wear away the protective layer of enamel on the surface of your teeth. If you can’t resist that diet soda, it’s best to drink it through a straw to minimise the damage to your teeth.
We all know that fruit is good for us, so surely fruit juices must be good news for our teeth? Well, not always. Many fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar - both natural sugars present in fruit, as well as added sugars - so can end up increasing your risk of cavities and tooth decay. As with the tip above, grab a paper straw when juice cravings hit to reduce the harm to your teeth.
If you’ve been avoiding a trip to the dentist for your regular check-up because everything seems fine with your oral health, you might be surprised to learn that it’s important to see your dentist even when there’s nothing wrong with your teeth. Dental check-ups are designed to assess your oral health so that any potential issues can be identified and addressed early, before they lead to pain, discomfort or other complications.
Ok, knowing the truth about this myth won’t necessarily make a difference to your oral health, but let’s bust it anyway! Despite what you may have heard, leaving a tooth in a glass of Coca-Cola overnight won’t cause the tooth to dissolve. However, soft drinks like coke do contain high amounts of sugar and acid, which can lead to erosion, cavities and tooth decay. It might not happen overnight, but it’s still best to avoid these tooth-damaging beverages, or drink in moderation, to reduce your chance of developing oral health problems.
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