We at The Palisades Dentists are shedding truth on a few of the more common dental myths. With all of the sketchy advice you can find on the Internet, it is easier than ever to get the wrong information about dental care. It is best to always talk to a dental professional if you have questions about your teeth and/or mouth.
You should always brush your teeth immediately after eating.
While it is important to brush your teeth after meals to remove trapped food and the inevitable plaque layer on your teeth, your saliva is your mouth’s natural way to neutralize the acids in the foods/drinks you eat. Try to wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to allow your saliva to work its magic before you brush your teeth.
You can use mouth rinse instead of brushing.
Mouth rinses freshen your breath, help reduce excess bacteria in the mouth, and may also contain fluoride to help prevent tooth decay – however, nothing removes sticky plaque better from your teeth than a solid, effective brushing session.
Your tooth will hurt if you have a cavity.
Not always! If your tooth has deep decay that has reached the pulp/nerve of the tooth, then you will have pain or discomfort (unless you have a root canal on that tooth, in which case you won’t feel pain because the nerve is already dead). We like to see our patients for regular cleanings and checkups so that we can catch decay early enough before it leads to pain.
Flossing isn’t necessary if you use an electric toothbrush.
Even when you brush your teeth regularly with an electric toothbrush, you can still get tooth decay if you neglect to floss. Floss reaches the areas of your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach, such as in-between your teeth and under the gums. Bacteria commonly harbor in these places, so brushing and flossing are equally important for keeping your teeth clean.
Bleaching will weaken your teeth.
The most common side effect of bleaching your teeth is increased tooth sensitivity for a brief period of time after application. Bleaching does not weaken your enamel or make it any more prone to decay.