At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe that maintaining proper dental health is not only crucial for a dazzling smile but also for overall well-being. Unfortunately, there are numerous dental myths and misconceptions that can misguide people and compromise their oral care routines.  In this article, we aim to debunk common dental myths and provide accurate information to help you take better care of your teeth and gums.

Myth 1: You should avoid brushing your teeth if your gums are bleeding.

One prevalent misconception is that brushing your teeth when your gums are bleeding can worsen the condition. However, this myth is entirely false. In reality, bleeding gums are often a sign of gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque and bacteria. Brushing your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using an antibacterial mouthwash can help remove plaque and reduce gum bleeding. Regular brushing and flossing are essential, especially when your gums are bleeding, to maintain good oral hygiene.

Myth 2: Baby teeth are not important since they will fall out anyway.

Some individuals believe that baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, are not significant since they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth. However, this is far from the truth. Baby teeth play a crucial role in speech development, chewing food properly, and guiding the eruption and alignment of permanent teeth. Neglecting baby teeth can lead to various dental issues, such as misalignment and speech problems. It is essential to care for baby teeth by practising good oral hygiene and taking children for regular dental check-ups.

Myth 3: If my teeth look and feel fine, I don’t need to visit the dentist.

Many people tend to skip dental visits if they do not experience any visible or noticeable dental problems. However, regular dental check-ups are vital for preventive care and early detection of dental issues that may not be apparent to the naked eye. Dentists can identify potential problems, such as cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer, in their early stages when they are easier to treat. Additionally, professional dental cleaning can remove plaque and tartar buildup, promoting optimal oral health.

Myth 4: Whitening toothpaste can whiten my teeth significantly.

The belief that using whitening toothpaste alone can achieve significant teeth whitening is a common misconception. While whitening toothpaste may help remove surface stains and slightly brighten the teeth, it does not produce noticeable whitening results on its own. To achieve a more significant whitening effect, professional teeth whitening treatments, either in-office or at home, are recommended. These treatments utilize safe and effective bleaching agents to lighten the teeth and provide a brighter smile.

Myth 5: Chewing sugar-free gum is just as harmful to my teeth as sugary gum.

Contrary to popular belief, chewing sugar-free gum can actually be beneficial for your oral health. When you chew gum, it stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize acids in the mouth and wash away food particles. Sugar-free gum, sweetened with non-cavity-causing alternatives like xylitol, can provide these benefits without the harmful effects of sugar. Chewing sugar-free gum for about 20 minutes after meals can aid in maintaining a healthy mouth and reducing the risk of tooth decay.

Myth 6: Diet sodas and fruit juices are better for my teeth than regular sodas.

Many people believe that diet sodas and fruit juices are healthier options for their teeth compared to regular sodas. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Diet sodas, despite being sugar-free, are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time. Fruit juices, although containing natural sugars, are still acidic and can contribute to tooth decay. It is best to consume these beverages in moderation and rinse your mouth with water afterwards to minimize their effects on your dental health.

Myth 7: You don’t need to floss if you brush your teeth thoroughly.

Brushing your teeth is undoubtedly important, but it cannot replace the need for flossing. Flossing reaches the areas between your teeth and along the gumline that a toothbrush cannot reach. These spaces are havens for plaque and food particles, which, if left unremoved, can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Incorporating flossing into your daily oral hygiene routine is crucial for comprehensive plaque removal and maintaining optimal gum health.

Myth 8: If my teeth are sensitive, I should avoid cold and hot foods altogether.

Tooth sensitivity is a common issue that causes discomfort when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. However, avoiding these foods altogether is not the solution. Tooth sensitivity is often a sign of underlying dental problems such as worn enamel, tooth decay, or exposed tooth roots. It is important to address the root cause of sensitivity by visiting your dentist. They can recommend appropriate treatments, such as desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride treatments, or dental procedures, to alleviate the discomfort and restore your ability to enjoy a varied diet.

Myth 9: Oral health doesn’t affect overall health.

There is a strong link between oral health and overall health, debunking the myth that the mouth is isolated from the rest of the body. Poor oral health has been associated with various systemic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and even complications during pregnancy. Oral infections and gum disease can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream, leading to inflammation and contributing to these health issues. Maintaining good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and addressing any oral health concerns promptly are essential for preserving not just your dental health but your overall well-being.

Myth 10: Using a toothpick is a safe alternative to flossing.

While toothpicks may seem convenient for removing food stuck between teeth, they should never be considered a substitute for flossing. Toothpicks can be harsh on your gums and may cause injury or damage to the delicate gum tissue and tooth enamel. Moreover, toothpicks do not effectively remove plaque, which is a sticky film that accumulates on teeth and causes decay and gum disease. To maintain optimal oral health, it is crucial to use dental floss or interdental brushes recommended by your dentist for safe and effective plaque removal between teeth.

At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you understand that dental myths can hinder our understanding of proper oral care and compromise the health of our teeth and gums. We recommend you consult with your dentist if you are unsure about any dental myths. This would allow you to follow the proper dental care guidelines.