Innovation is a trait of human nature, during prehistoric times we used this drive to create tools. In our modern ages, we have redirected this innovation toward the examination of our contemporary creations, attempting to ensure they’re as necessary as we’ve been made to believe. This often results in trying outdated techniques, such as dental myths, ideas backed by pseudo-science, or creating an air of doubt around tried-and-true techniques.
Misinformation could cause damage to your beautiful pearly-whites, so let’s look at some of these dental myths created by our powerful need to innovate.
Myth 1: An Apple a Day Keeps The Dentist Away
Between the fibrous texture and the copious amounts of chewing, it’s not hard to see why people would think that apples could keep teeth clean. Chewing on an apple does increase saliva production, which can help rinse bacteria out of your mouth. While packing an apple to enjoy at the end of your lunch can help stave off bad breath and keep the bacteria at bay, it’s not recommended letting Mr. Apple graduate with his D.MD, just yet. Though, maybe apple-flavored toothpaste is an option?
Myth 2: Oil-Pulling Can Replace Your Toothbrush
Have you heard about oil-pulling? You take a tablespoon of coconut oil and you swish it around like mouthwash for 20 minutes. The idea is that the oil will take the bad bacteria and leave the good. While oil-pulling is shown to be more effective than sloshing water around in your mouth, and about as effective as a mouthwash in a few small studies, there is nothing showing that oil-pulling can replace your good ol’ fashioned toothbrush.
Myth 3: Professional Dental Cleanings Damage Enamel
Have you seen the video of what happens to teeth in soda? The things that damage enamel are fairly well documented. Sugary, fruit drinks aren’t much better than soda, and foods high in sugar fall closely behind. But on the list of things that erode tooth enamel, professional cleanings does not make the cut. In fact, it’s suggested that keeping your regular appointments with your dentist can help keep an eye on erosion and allow you to take appropriate action should you start to show signs of erosion.
Myth 4: Everyone’s Gums Bleed
It’s safe to say that most of us wouldn’t react very strongly to a spot of red in the sink. After brushing our teeth regularly for so many years, we’re pretty desensitized to the possibility. But bleeding is usually your mouth calling out for help. Reasons range from vitamin deficiencies or poor hygiene to more intentional damage like smoking cigarettes or eating the wrong foods. If your gums bleed for more than seven days, any signs of pink in the sink should have you reaching for the phone. Gums that bleed consistently are a sign that you may need to call your doctor and get a standard cleaning to clear plague that could be aggravating your gums and ensure there are no early signs of gum disease.
Health myths can set us up for failure at worst, and waste our time at best. Be sure to keep open the communication lines with your dentist, whichever hygiene methods you choose to employ. Through regular visits, a dentist can let you know if the method you’re trying is helping, or hurting your oral health. Regardless of whether you select a conventional or “hip” oral hygiene routine, you should aim to see your dentist for a basic cleaning and check-up every six months. Your doctor will be able to provide preventative maintenance and keep an eye out for any signs of trouble. Commit to talking with your dentist about your oral routine and not even myths will be able to stand up to your pearly whites.