Dental Care

5 Common Dental Health Myths and Misconceptions

Indicators of your well-being are a healthy set of teeth. Thus, it isn’t a surprise that many people today consider oral health as one of their top priorities for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While good oral health can be accomplished by taking a few minutes for yourself daily, irreversible damage can be done with the wrong practices.

There is an enormous amount of advice available online regarding tips for appropriate oral care. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to taking care of your smile. The message can sometimes get crossed with new developments that are happening in healthcare every day. Dental myths can make your oral health deteriorate instead of making your teeth healthy.

How many dental myths do you think you have heard of before? We would like to share the truth about these common oral health myths dental hygienists listen to from patients almost every day. Read on to learn about them and how to keep your mouth healthy. 

Is Chewing Gum Good or Bad for Your Teeth?

The answer is: that chewing gum can either be good for your teeth or bad for your teeth. That’s an annoying answer but the truth.

let’s explain why it can have these two polar opposite effects. If the gum that you’re chewing contains sugar, chewing gum daily is a way to give yourself cavities. When sugar sits on your teeth for a prolonged amount of time the acids in your mouth start to create small holes in the tooth enamel demineralization which leads to tooth decay (Cavities).

Sugary gum is always bad, if the gum does not contain sugar, chewing gum could be a way to prevent cavities. Chewing sugarless or sugar-free gum after meals can promote saliva production which in turn can neutralize the acidity in your mouth. This extra saliva neutralizing your mouth can reduce the risk of getting cavities so sugar-free gum is usually good.

However, not always. Sugar-free gum isn’t 100% good for everyone and it’s not because of your teeth but it’s because of your jaw. The constant chewing motion can be detrimental to the health of your jaw if you’ve ever suffered from TMJ issues in the past or notice yourself clenching or grinding your teeth at night.

Daily gum chewing is probably not the best idea even if it’s sugar-free. Especially, if you are someone who has any concerns related to your jaw.

So to make it clear, not all gum is good for your teeth and if you’re going to chew good sugar-free gum, it’s all good for your teeth but doesn’t forget to keep your jaw in mind. If you overdo it with the chewing motion all day it’s possible to aggravate your jaw which can lead to TMJ issues.

And one more thing, if you are looking for sugar-free gum what you’re looking for, is one with Xylitol as the main ingredient. This is a particular type of sweetener that is safer on your teeth than any other type of sugar substitute.

Xylitol can also improve your breath and reduce dry mouth which in turn may help lower your chance of plaque buildup and reduce your risk of tooth decay. so that’s good, but again don’t forget to pay attention to your jaw.

Is Your Mouthwash Staining Your Teeth?

There are a lot of people who ask this question to the point where we were like: do we even know the answer to this?

It seems so strange that something that’s supposed to be good for your teeth some mouthwashes help reduce your chance of cavities and lower the bacterial count in your mouth, These all are good things. so why would some stain your teeth? That doesn’t seem like a good thing right, it doesn’t make sense. So what we found out is that.

Yes, some mouthwashes can indeed stain some people’s teeth and it’s generally related to one of these two ingredients; acetyl pyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine gluten.

Now before you panic and check the mouthwash that you’ve been using for months and now want to throw it away. If it has one of those ingredients stop don’t panic, and don’t throw anything away. If it hasn’t stained your teeth by now it’s not going to stain them and it’s also important to know that mouthwash stains teeth in a super small percentage of people, it’s very rare that it will happen to you.

Most tooth staining comes from lifestyle factors such as things that we eat and drink things, like tomato sauce, red wine, coffee, tea, soda, blueberries, curry.. etc. You get it, our teeth are naturally porous so it’s normal for stain deposits to accumulate over time the more often you eat, or drink those stain-causing foods and drinks the heavier the stain buildup you’re going to get.

Some people also pick up random stains from things like vitamins and minerals supplements even swimming in chlorinated pools. If you have kids who spend a lot of time at the pool or you’re a competitive swimmer there is a higher chance you’ll see stains on your teeth from that than mouthwash.

let’s talk about the main tooth staining ingredients in mouthwashes, like we said one is cedalpyridinium chloride, also called CPC. As we said earlier how mouthwash staining is super rare, this is because cedalpyridinium chloride does not cause everyone’s teeth to stain, it only affects a small percentage of people close to three percent enough to know it’s a problem but probably not enough to worry about it affecting you.

And if we want to be technical cedalpyridinium chloride itself might not be the thing that is staining your teeth. instead, it’s sometimes thought that cedalpyridinium chloride stains teeth by killing the bacteria which then begin to decompose and then leave ground stains behind on your teeth. So, if it does stain your teeth, it’s not the ingredient itself staining your teeth. It’s the dead bacteria that they left behind.

The good news if you want to call it, is that if the cedalpyridinium chloride mouthwash does stain your teeth if you’re in that three percent that might happen to you. The stains tend to be extrinsic also known as surface stains as opposed to internal intrinsic staining so that’s the good news that you can easily get it polished off whenever you’re having your teeth cleaned at your dental office.

The other mouthwash ingredient that can stain teeth is called chlorhexidine gluten. However, chlorhexidine, since it’s an extremely strong antimicrobial it’s prescription only. So, you won’t usually find this in any of the over-the-counter mouthwashes at the store.

Occasionally, dentists need to prescribe chlorhexidine to use on a limited basis. In most cases, they don’t want you using it for more than about two weeks. It’s usually recommended after gum surgery or wisdom teeth extractions whatever the case they are often used to help get chronic infections under control.

The bad thing about this one is that the chance of tooth stain is much higher than with cedalpyridinium chloride which is found in most counter mouthwashes.

Fluorohexadine is well known to cause tooth stains in most people. But again it takes weeks for the staining to happen and you usually don’t use it for longer than that so it’s all good. And if your teeth were to stain after using chlorhexidine mouthwash it is easily polished off at your dental cleaning appointment as well.

In all it’s important to remember why you are using mouthwash, some people love it for fresher breath to help combat tooth decay, or even to help improve your gum health. But if you don’t want to use mouthwash unless your dental provider tells you otherwise it isn’t going to make or break your dental hygiene routine.

Again, there are some cases where you have to start using an anti-cavity mouthwash. But proper brushing and proper flossing and cleaning between your teeth are way more important than using mouthwash. It is just a supplemental addition to your brushing and flossing routine.

Finally, the take-up message of this part of the article is that tooth staining from over-the-counter mouthwash with the ingredient chlorhexidine gluten is super rare it is much more common to get staining from coffee tea tobacco wine and other stain-causing foods, and if you’re given a prescription mouthwash with chlorhexidine gluten in it don’t use it for longer than the instructed length of time given.

Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush – Which one is better?

Both manual and electric toothbrushes are considered effective at removing plaque from your teeth, but you have to use the proper technique for either of them to be effective.

And more often, it’s easier to use the proper technique with electric toothbrushes because it does most of the work for you. Many dental hygienists do usually recommend an electric toothbrush to help their patients. It can only help improve your dental hygiene it can’t hurt.

however, if you are someone who does a great job with your regular manual toothbrush you never have any problems, your cleanings at the dentist are easy. Great, keep up the good work but if your dental provider ever says you need to focus on a specific area of your mouth or you tend to build up plaque quickly it’s worth trying an electric toothbrush to give you that extra help when brushing.

Electric toothbrushes are capable of making thousands of tiny strokes in just a few seconds whereas manual toothbrushes are not. So, assuming you’re using a high-quality electric toothbrush you should be able to clean your teeth above average as long as you’re using the correct technique.

Some other great things to consider about electric toothbrushes are all the additional things they can do for you such as they can add more stimulation to your gum tissues and promote better blood flow to encourage healthier gums and less bleeding. Limited movement is required you simply hold the brush where you want it to clean and it does the work for you. So, if you have any hand or wrist pain it makes it easier.

Most, offer larger and longer handle designs that work well for people with limited dexterity or jaw issues if you can’t open wide. Most models have built-in timers that can help ensure you know how long you’re brushing each area of your mouth so you clean your teeth for the full two minutes. Lots of models also have pressure sensors so if you’ve ever been told that you brush too hard or you brush too aggressively it will alert you to ease up on your tense grip. And lastly, they are super preferred and recommended for all patients with braces or other fixed orthodontic appliances who need to target plaque across a larger surface area.

So how do you know which electric toothbrush is the right one for you? Some are made better than others you don’t want one that is designed with rough, stiff, or poorly made bristles, or ones with a power source or battery life that is low meaning it needs to be charged every single night.

Our advice is to always remember that toothbrushes are not a one-size-fits-all, one that works best for me, might not work best for you. So it’s always recommended to ask your dentist or your dental hygienist which electric toothbrush they feel is best for your mouth.

In all when you’re comparing manual versus, electric toothbrushes electric versions are almost always better assuming they’re not cheaply made. You could do a great job with a manual toothbrush it’s just sometimes more work to do it correctly and with brushing twice a day in our busy lives lots of us tend to rush and you don’t want to ever skip out on brushing too fast and not doing a good job so with electric toothbrushes in our opinion they often help you do a better more thorough job.

Is Getting Braces Worth It? 

Getting braces is not only to improve your smile. Lots of people think orthodontics is simply due to aesthetics or cosmetics your facial appearance but what we are here to tell you is that crooked teeth can also directly relate to excess wear and tear on your teeth which leads to cracked teeth and chipped teeth

Also, crooked teeth can lead to gum disease and cavities who’d think right but this happens because when your teeth are crooked there are more spots for plaque buildup to hide and get missed when you’re brushing and flossing.

In addition, lots of people have jaw misalignments which are overbites, underbites, or crossbites and several dental problems can result from these misalignments. For example, overbites can cause jaw pain since your mouth can’t bite into food the way it’s supposed to. The jaw might go out of its way to ensure that food gets chewed well enough for you to swallow it which unfortunately can lead to TMJ disorder. Just like crooked teeth overbites, underbites, and crossbites can also cause tooth wear sometimes with overbites specifically the upper teeth form a notch where the lower teeth are hitting them causing the lower teeth to wear down into a wedge-shaped biting surface which is just like it sounds not functional or attractive.

lastly, bite misalignments can put you at a higher risk for tooth injuries. Simply due to the teeth not fitting together properly, if the upper front teeth are more prominently placed any hit to the mouth can cause them to break or knock them out.

So, it is always recommended to straighten your teeth and fix your bite before it negatively affects your overall dental health it’s not just about cosmetics and looking good with straight teeth it’s about your health.

The way to safely straighten your teeth is with either traditional braces or teeth aligners both are recommended under the care of your dentist or orthodontist and we have to mention that it is not safe to attempt do-it-yourself teeth aligners at home.

But quickly explained every patient and every mouth is different and in some cases, there will be patients who don’t qualify for teeth liners and traditional braces will be recommended instead. If you force your teeth to move too quickly and the roots are resorbed it can cause tooth mobility which is loose teeth which leads to losing teeth. And it’s how important it is to go to your dentist if you are interested in teeth aligners.

Finally, teeth straightening doesn’t not only improve the cosmetic appearance of your smile but also provides you with several health benefits including preventing gum disease, and cavities. This is because you are creating easier access to properly brush, floss, and clean between the teeth lowering your chance of missing spots.

In addition, straightening your teeth can also improve your ability to properly chew food, decrease speech impairments, and reduce grinding which can lead to cracked teeth. Orthodontics can also fix problems with the alignment of your upper and lower jaws which can prevent TMJ issues.

Why Dental X-Rays Are So PAINFUL?

let’s talk about why some dental x-rays hurt more than others. There are four main reasons why x-rays can be uncomfortable:

  1. Bony Projections – some people have Mandibular Tauri and or a Palatal Taurus. These are bony growths and they are on either side of the floor of the mouth and or the roof of your mouth, your palette. They can be super big or barely noticeable but either way, they can make x-rays super uncomfortable because you have to bite down right where they are and although they can be annoying they are not harmful to your health they just make biting down a not-so-fun experience they get in the way.
  2. The Size of Your Mouth – a small mouth means difficult dental x-rays, if you can’t open your mouth wide enough we need to force the sensor into your mouth to get a good picture, and forcing them in is oftentimes uncomfortable for both your mouth and your jaw. Sometimes it’s hard to open wide if you have a small mouth or jaw problem, and in addition, since the sensor is a hard rectangular block, it can often touch the back of your throat and activate your gag reflex which could be unpleasant. There are so many tips and tricks to prevent this from happening to prevent gagging that work.
  1. Location of Teeth – sometimes certain teeth are located in specific areas of your mouth and jaw that are truly just hard to see and hard to reach and those are usually your molars, especially your wisdom teeth. They are so far back there in the jaw for some people it just depends on your anatomy everyone is different. But with the gag reflex, the further back a tooth is the more you’ll feel the sensor near your throat.
  2. Four vertical bitewing – Some patients especially patients with periodontal disease and bone loss require vertical bitewings instead of horizontal bitewings, the norm is the usual way to take x-rays. But with bone loss oftentimes clinicians need to take vertical bitewings, to properly see the level of your bone with your teeth. So, if you’re someone who needs vertical bitewings and you have any Tauri or a small mouth or any of those others. things that make it difficult, it can be a super irritating combination of things that will make your x-rays more uncomfortable than others.

Having said all this, we need to make it clear how important dental x-rays are. If you are worried about x-rays being uncomfortable due to any of these reasons or if you’ve had past experiences with painful x-rays. Our best advice is to always let the dental provider know beforehand about your concerns if we know ahead of time that you have a gag reflex for example like we were saying earlier we have so many different techniques and ways we can make it more comfortable for you.

x-rays are the only way dentists can see between your teeth, the only way to confirm whether or not you have cavities between your back teeth, and how they want to help you be comfortable and not dread getting x-rays and can properly take care of your teeth.

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