by Dakota Murphey | August 1, 2017 9:28 pm
Taking care of our teeth is an important part of our daily routine, protecting us against bad breath, cavities and gum disease. It can be hard to keep track of what is and isn’t good for our health, but with more information and technology becoming available all the time, it’s important to know what’s safe – and what isn’t – for your teeth.
Myth: Milk teeth don’t matter
Just because they eventually fall out, doesn’t mean you can afford to neglect your child’s baby teeth. Severe decay can result in abscesses and teeth needing to be pulled early, both of which can significantly impact your child’s adult teeth when they come through.
Stay on top of your child’s oral health by limiting their sugar intake, taking them for annual check-ups, and talking to your dentist about how to encourage them to brush properly, twice a day.
Myth: A hard brush is better
If your brushing technique is too rough and not thorough enough, a hard brush will not be doing your teeth any good. Conscientiously brushing your teeth and gums with a gentler brush will be much better for you in the long run. Make sure to move you brush in small circles too; a side to side motion can encourage movement in your teeth and lead to problems with your gums!
Myth: White teeth = healthy teeth
Teeth naturally come in various shades of off-white, so don’t worry if yours aren’t gleaming. As we age, teeth will gradually become more discoloured – the best thing to do is brush them regularly, and avoid foods and drinks that are known to leave stains over time.
For healthy teeth, make sure you’re brushing twice a day, and eat of saliva-inducing snacks like crunchy carrots, broccoli and celery. If you can’t help but reach for the cola, switch to using a straw to reduce the wear on your teeth.
Myth: Fluoride is bad for you
The confusion surrounding fluoride mainly stems from the fact that it’s toxic in high quantities… but then so are bananas. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral which, in controlled doses, has been shown to have cavity-preventing properties, boosting our bodies’ natural immune system – particularly in children.
The main reason you see toothpastes advertised as “fluoride free” is for people with a medical sensitivity to fluoride, or those living in an area with exceptionally high fluoride levels in the water supply.
Myth: Whitening your teeth is harmful
The truth is, it depends how you whiten them. Using a whitening toothpaste is not always the best solution, as many formulas are harmfully abrasive over long periods of time (your dentist will be able to recommend safe options). Home bleach kits also carry certain risks, and often are simply not effective enough to make a difference.
The best solution is to visit a dental spa, where a professional treatment will guarantee results. Laser whitening is becoming a popular option, where a gel coating is applied to the teeth before using a special lamp to lift the colour. The enamel and structure of your teeth should be completely unaffected.
Myth: Chewing gum is a bad habit
When we eat, the sugars in our food allows the bacteria on our teeth to grow, producing acid which causes tooth decay. However, the simple act of chewing increases the amount of saliva in our mouths, which neutralises and washes away the acids left on teeth from eating.
While sugared gum will leave its own acid behind, choosing a sugar-free brand and chewing for 20 minutes after eating can prevent acidity damage. Dentists widely regard the natural sweetener xylitol to be the most effective – so keep an eye out when comparing gum packets. Be warned that large quantities of xylitol can upset your stomach though, so stick to chewing just after meals.
Myth: Pregnant women can’t have dental treatments
Dentists shouldn’t be avoided – in fact, pregnant women and new mothers should be more aware of their teeth, and be prepared to have several dental check-ups to make sure everything is staying healthy. This is due to hormonal changes altering the acid in her mouth, potentially causing tooth troubles. That being said, x-rays and dental surgery should absolutely be postponed until after the baby is born.
Myth: Brush straight after every meal
This isn’t a good idea, for two reasons. Firstly, the acid in your food will soften the coating of your teeth, which can get scrubbed away by an immediate brushing – it’s much better to wait an hour. Secondly, while it’s important to keep your teeth free from plaque, over-brushing them can excessively wear down their enamel, making them more fragile in the long run.
If you’re conscious about your breath or food remnants in your mouth after eating, rinse your mouth out with still water and chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes for a clean, minty mouth.
Myth: Braces are for teenagers
If your teeth are crowded, crooked or poorly-spaced, you can – and should – get them fixed at any age. Badly aligned teeth are susceptible to unusual build-ups of plaque and bacteria, which will affect the overall hygiene of your mouth. The shape of your teeth also affects the way you talk, eat, and hold your head, but all of these things can be improved with an adult brace.
If you’re worried that adult braces will equal several years of embarrassment, don’t! Modern alignment methods are barely noticeable, and the fastest treatments can be completed in six months
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