Myth or Fact? 14 Dental Questions You Always Wondered About…
There have always been strange myths bounded around, about teeth and dental health, but are they actually real or were they just dreamed up by exasperated parents to stop the daily teeth brushing battle? Dr. Robbie Hughes, the dentist to the stars, tells all!
1. You have to brush your teeth twice a day for them to stay healthy
FACT: Probably unsurprising, but yes, this is a fact! You need to brush your teeth last thing before you go to bed and then ideally first thing in the morning. This removes plaque and bacterial which prevents decay and gum disease as well as giving you minty-fresh breath.
2. Chewing gum cleans your teeth
MYTH: Unfortunately, this is a myth. It doesn’t clean your teeth BUT chewing sugar-free gum does neutralise the PH in your mouth and stimulates saliva flow which reduces the risk of tooth decay.
3. Eating cheese can protect your teeth
FACT: Chewing cheese actually helps rebalance the pH balance in the mouth, reducing acidity, through the production of saliva. This not only preserves and rebuilds enamel but also plays an important role in washing the bacteria and plaque off the teeth. Cheese also contains calcium and phosphate, both of which are essential components of healthy teeth.
4. Bad teeth are inherited
FACT: Gum disease is partly genetic can be affected by environmental factors such as smoking, diet and oral hygiene. But if you don’t have it in the family and you look after your teeth, you should be able to avoid it as much as possible
5. Yellow teeth means they are unhealthy
MYTH: Teeth come in all different sizes and colours, and this doesn’t necessarily mean they are unhealthy. Having white teeth is trendy sure, but actually, teeth which are more yellow in colour can be just as healthy and do everything they are designed for!
6. You can’t brush your teeth for 30 minutes after eating
FACT: This is actually a really important fact. You need to allow time for your teeth to recover after you have eaten, especially if it was something sugary. Physically brushing your teeth at this time can cause damage so instead, try rinsing with mouthwash or sugar-free gum after meals to bring the PH balance down.
7. Diet drinks don’t damage your teeth like sugar-filled drinks do
MYTH: Drinks that can be marketed as “sugar-free” can still be damaging to the teeth. Fizzy drinks are all carbonated which causes erosion so stick with fizz free.
8. Your teeth will get damaged during pregnancy
FACT: During pregnancy, your increased hormone levels mean that your body has an increased response to bacteria. This puts you at a higher risk of gum disease so see your hygienist if you are suffering from bleeding gums. Pregnancy can also mean you are eating increased sugary foods to combat sickness and pregnancy cravings, this can lead to tooth decay so make sure you are keeping up good oral hygiene twice a day. Don’t forget that all NHS dental work is free whilst you are pregnant and in the first year after your baby is born so be sure to make the most of it!
9. The best way to deal with a knocked-out tooth is the jam it back into the hole
FACT: If you get a tooth knocked out, pick it up, lick it clean and put it back in the hole – then get to a dentist quick sharp. If you find you are unable to put the tooth back into the hole, put it in milk and take it with you to the dentist ASAP. Make sure you never try to re-insert a baby tooth.
10. Only kids have braces
MYTH: You can have braces at any age. If you feel like you want to work on your smile or any issues such as an overbite, then the time is now! Some of the biggest stars in the world have been seen rocking metal braces and retainers, so if it’s good enough for them, why not give it a shot?
11. Rinsing after brushing is bad/mouthwash strips teeth of paste benefits
FACT: This is so important. After you have brushed your teeth be sure not to rinse out with anything. Let that lovely fluoride do its job!
12. Veneers are unaffordable
MYTH: Hey, they aren’t cheap but like anything that has an impact on your life and is of high quality, it comes with a price tag. Veneers are an investment, and the price is a reflection of the quality and experience of the clinician. If you are considering having dental work done, be sure to find a clinician who is registered with the UK General Dental Council.
13. Humans didn’t struggle with crooked teeth until agriculture came into existence
FACT: Research shows that as we have evolved our teeth have become more crooked and our jaws weaker. While there is no concrete evidence to suggest one specific reason for this, it could be numerous reasons e.g. the softer texture of our food in modern times and the way we consume it with a knife and fork, the reduction in breastfeeding – which helps develop strong jaw muscles.
14. Charcoal toothpaste is better for your teeth
MYTH AND FACT: Unregulated charcoal toothpaste can contain large particles of charcoal which can be abrasive and damaging to the teeth. If you want to use charcoal toothpaste to remove staining, ensure to use one that is safely formulated by a dentist.