We have people telling us how to take care of our teeth from when we’re very young. Whether or not we adhere to all the advice can seem up to chance. Just because we brushed and flossed our teeth religiously as children doesn’t mean we arrive at adulthood feeling lucky to floss once a week. The truth remains that our dental habits are largely formed by our family, friends, and dentists. Now, you would be amazed at how many patients tell us about tips and information they’ve received that just doesn’t make sense. Unfortunately, these myths about dental care can have a big impact on your dental health, impeding your ability to care for your teeth properly. The team at Saratoga Springs Dentistry wants to take this blog to discuss some of the most common myths we hear and hopefully put them to rest if they’ve been warping your own dental care.

MYTH: Brushing my teeth more means healthier teeth.

This is true if you brush your teeth once a day. However, it is possible to take things way too far and brush too much. Though our modern toothpaste is far more merciful than crushed up bricks, it still wears on enamel. The actual brush on your toothbrush can irritate your gums and cause them to recede. You want to brush your teeth enough to protect them from plaque, but not so much you start compromising their strength. You can help your teeth stay clean between twice-a-day brushing by rinsing your mouth and only chewing sugar-free gum.

MYTH: If I brush my teeth well before my dental appointment, the dentist won’t be able to tell I’ve been neglecting my teeth. 

We have the experience to notice when teeth and gums have gotten uncommon attention. The gums will be red, irritated, and even bleeding. You might get your teeth brushed well, but plaque doesn’t respond to a toothbrush, and it is an immediate indicator of how well you’ve cared for your teeth since your last appointment. It’s fine to brush your teeth before an appointment, but don’t do it under the belief that you’ll trick your dentist.

MYTH: Dental x-rays are unnecessary. 

Dental health isn’t just about what you can see above your gums. In fact, the health of your jawbone and all the structure beneath your gums plays an integral role in the health of your visible teeth. Dental x-rays not only reveal dangerous decay, they can also illuminate deeper issues that might be causing you dental troubles. You don’t need to fear the radiation from dental x-rays, which is extremely small.

MYTH: If my gums are bleeding, I shouldn’t brush or floss. 

Actually, the truth is the exact opposite of this myth. Gums that bleed are obvious indicators that you are not flossing and brushing enough. When you floss regularly, your gums toughen up to the point where they won’t bleed. This is a good thing. If your gums bleed, persist in a regular flossing and brushing schedule to help them stay clean and reach a point where they don’t suffer damage from basic maintenance.

MYTH: Pregnant women should avoid dental treatment.  

While you should always let your dentist know that you are pregnant, dental treatment is actually very important during pregnancy. Hormonal changes boost the bacteria in the mouth responsible for bleeding gums and gingivitis, which means pregnancy can actually heighten your risk for cavities and other issues. Once your dentist knows you are pregnant, he or she can determine if certain treatments are okay. For instance, x-rays and local anesthetics generally not dangerous, but only if done when absolutely necessary.  Cleaning and fillings are absolutely safe and should not be avoided.

MYTH: Teeth whitening always damages the enamel and is dangerous. 

While teeth whitening certainly can cause irreparable damage, this happens as a result of inexperience. When you get professional teeth whitening, you don’t have to worry about losing enamel. That being said, teeth whitening generally does heighten tooth sensitivity as well as gum redness, but these symptoms are short-term and not a cause for worry.

Keeping your teeth healthy has a huge impact on your quality of life, both now and in the future. Make sure your dental health is in good hands: contact our Saratoga Springs dentist team for an appointment today!