Six Common Dental Myths

Proper dental care can give you a great smile and benefit your overall health. Modern dentistry has made some major advances in the last few decades, but a few popular misconceptions still abound. 

Here are some dental myths, plus one statement that has dentists undecided.

1. Whitening Your Teeth Weakens Them

Bleaching products, whether they be from the dentist or over the counter, are generally harmless. These products only work on the color of the teeth, not the enamel itself. Even frequent usage doesn't harm teeth, although patients may experience increased sensitivity and irritated gums if they whiten often.

2. Only Poor Oral Hygiene Causes Bad Breath

Bad breath can be caused by many factors, and poor oral hygiene is one of them. However, it can also be caused by illness or even something you may have eaten. Highly aromatic foods, such as garlic and onions will result in bad breath, even if you brush and floss regularly. Bronchitis, sinus infections, diabetes and chronic acid reflux are also culprits.

3. Parsley Curbs Bad Breath

Parsley has long been championed as a bad breath cure-all. However, in a 2008 study, researchers in Japan found this old folk remedy to be ineffectual. Toothpaste, mints and green tea were cited as the only effective weapons against bad breath.

4. Brush Your Teeth as Hard as You Can

A toothbrush with bent bristles is a sure sign that you're brushing too vigorously. Brushing two or even three times a day is fine and many dentists recommend it, but brushing too hard can damage tooth enamel. So feel free to brush after every meal, just don't press too hard, and use a soft bristle brush.

5. Tooth Enamel is the Hardest Substance in Your Body, So You Can Sometimes Use Your Teeth As a Tool

While tooth enamel is very strong, teeth should never be used as a tool and can crack, chip or wear down if used for anything other than eating and smiling. Bruxism, or tooth grinding as it is commonly known, shouldn't be ignored either, in spite of this dental fact.

6. You Should Always Floss First, Then Brush

This is the only statement for which the American Dental Association has no stated preference. An argument can be made that flossing before brushing is more beneficial. By flossing and cleaning out the spaces between your teeth, the toothpaste and toothbrush can penetrate and clean hard to reach areas more easily.

Taking care of your teeth and gums and keeping up to date on the latest dental news will ensure your dental health for years to come. Talk to a dentist like McMillin Jeff DDS for more information about common dental myths