Dental Myths

I should stop brushing my teeth if my gums bleed.

Your gums are crying for attention! Bacterial plaque and food debris are not being removed. Thoroughly and gently brush and floss your gums at least twice a day. If the bleeding continues after 4 to 5 days, visit your dentist immediately.

If I do not see a problem with my teeth, I don't have to visit the dentist.

No matter the condition of your mouth, see your dentist at least twice a year. More than 90% of dental problems occur without any symptoms. Your dentist can spot a problem early and treat it before problems become serious.

Bleaching ("whitening") my teeth will damage my enamel.

Present day bleaching materials, both over-the-counter and in-office, will not damage your enamel. Nevertheless, teeth whitening products are not recommended for those with sensitive teeth, exposed roots, unfilled cavities, broken fillings, those under age 21, and pregnant or nursing women. It is always best to consult your dentist before you begin any whitening procedure.

My parents have good dental health; therefore I will inherit the same.

Partially true. Genetics does help with good dental health, but it's up to you to brush and floss your teeth and gums daily; and, to visit your dentist regularly to keep them healthy in the long term.

Using a xylitol sugar-free gum after a meal is just as good as brushing.

Mostly false. Chewing xylitol based gums will increase saliva flow which helps rid teeth of food debris and freshens your breath. However, chewing gum is not a replacement for thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth.

Placing an aspirin tablet next to a tooth that is hurting will relieve the pain.

This "at-home remedy" of placing an aspirin in direct contact with the soft tissues of your mouth will lead to a painful chemical burn. It will not relieve the toothache.

Taking care of my child's baby teeth is not important because they are going to fall out and be replaced by the permanent teeth.

Good dental health starts with your child's baby teeth. Baby teeth can remain until age 13. Neglecting them will cause loss of the baby teeth before their proper time, resulting in problems with their bite, their speech, and the development of their permanent teeth.

I'm pregnant and should avoid all dental treatment.

Pregnant women must not avoid regular dental treatment. A healthy mouth, and a healthy mother correlates with a healthy infant. There are only a few dental procedures to avoid during certain trimesters of pregnancy. Inform your dentist if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

Brushing my teeth more than once a day harms my enamel.

Most dentists recommend using a soft toothbrush to remove bacterial plaque twice a day. Brushing and flossing after every meal is considered ideal.

After a cavity has been filled, I cannot get another cavity in that tooth.

Unfortunately, the tooth is more susceptible to the cavity process. Good oral hygiene habits will decrease the chance of a re-occurring cavity.

It is better to keep my wisdom teeth that are not causing any problems.

Recent studies show it is better to remove the asymptomatic wisdom teeth at an early age to avoid gum disease in these areas later in life.

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