Debunking 9 Common Dental Care Myths

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We’ve all grown up with different nuggets of wisdom about dental care, but how accurate are they? Here at the office of Dr. Carol Jin, DDS, we’re ready to debunk nine common dental myths so you can make sure your smile stays healthy and shining. Ready to learn the truth behind some long-standing oral hygiene misconceptions?

  1. Brushing after every meal is better for your teeth.
  2. You only need to visit the dentist if you have a toothache.
  3. Whitening toothpaste will dramatically change the color of your teeth.
  4. You don’t need to floss if you brush your teeth regularly.
  5. Sugar is the only cause of cavities.
  6. You only need to replace your toothbrush when the bristles are frayed.
  7. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it means you’re brushing too hard.
  8. Baby teeth don’t need to be taken care of because they will fall out anyway.
  9. You don’t need to worry about your oral health if you have dental implants or dentures.

1. No, You Shouldn’t Brush After Every Meal

Brushing your teeth after every meal is a habit many of us learn in childhood, but it’s not necessary. Dentists recommend brushing only twice a day—and the American Dental Association says that if you brush more than three times a day, you can do more harm than good. The enamel on your teeth is like protective armor—brushing too frequently or aggressively can wear it away over time.

2. Yes, You Need Regular Checkups

You should see your dentist at least twice a year, or even more often, depending on how your teeth are doing. Even if it doesn’t feel like anything is wrong, there are still lots of things dentists can spot — like decay or weak spots in your enamel that could lead to future problems. Keeping up with regular dental care means saving yourself from having to deal with painful cavities or infections later on. And remember — your dentist will also screen you for oral cancer at your biannual checkups.

3. No, Whitening Toothpaste Isn’t A Miracle Worker

We’ve all seen those commercials that claim whitening toothpaste will make your teeth so much brighter, but that’s not true. Sure, it might help remove minor surface stains and blemishes on teeth, but no toothpaste will dramatically change the actual color. If you want to brighten your smile, look into professional treatments like veneers or laser whitening instead.

4. Yes, You Need To Floss Daily

Brushing merely cleans about 60% of your tooth surfaces. Daily flossing removes food and plaque between the teeth, which helps prevent cavities, bleeding gums, and bad breath. By flossing at least once a day, you’ll also help prevent gum disease. So, take that extra few minutes each day and remember to floss—it will pay off in the long run!

5. No, Sugar Isn’t The Only Cause Of Cavities

Contrary to popular belief, cavities are caused by more than sugar. Candy and cookies can be a significant factor in causing cavities, but neglecting your daily oral care routine also contributes. Brushing twice daily, flossing every night before bed, and regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital for good oral health. It’s okay to enjoy an occasional sweet treat without feeling guilty about destroying your beautiful smile!

6. Yes, You Should Frequently Replace Your Toothbrush

It’s best to swap out your toothbrush every three to four months, regardless of the bristle condition. Over time, bacteria can accumulate on the brushing surface. You should also change brushes after recovering from a viral illness such as a cold, the flu, or coronavirus, since germs can live in the bristles a lot longer than you might think, leaving you at risk of re-infection.

7. No, Bleeding Gums Aren’t Just Caused By Brushing Too Hard

Brushing too hard or using a stiff-bristled brush could cause occasional bleeding, but poor oral hygiene, underlying medical conditions, and medications can also be associated with bleeding gums. Bleeding gums are also often a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. So, If you’re experiencing persistent bleeding, please schedule a checkup.

8. Yes, You Need To Take Care Of Baby Teeth

Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, you shouldn’t neglect them! Baby teeth play an essential role in helping children learn to chew, talk, and smile! They also act as placeholders for permanent teeth. Please ensure you’re brushing those tiny chompers twice daily, and schedule regular trips to a pediatric dentist as soon as the first small tooth comes in.

9. No, Implants & Dentures Don’t Mean You Can Quit The Dentist

Dental implants and dentures require regular maintenance and care to prevent gum disease and infections and to check for mechanical defects. So, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups, even if you have few or no natural teeth left. Don’t forget — your dentist also performs essential oral cancer screenings.

Keep Those Pearly Whites Shining Bright

Hopefully, this article clarifies some confusion around common dental myths! San Ramon dentist Dr. Carol Jin, DDS, is always happy to help dispel rumors and answer questions about taking care of your teeth. Whether you’re a new patient or it’s been a while since your last visit to our office, we’re here to address your oral health concerns. Please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or use our online form to ask questions and schedule a checkup today.