While parents always want to keep their children healthy and safe, moms and dads aren't perfect. There is a lot to know when it comes to parenting and it's a challenge to stay up to date with every piece of important information. This is sometimes the case with dental hygiene. Today we know that some of the things your mom and dad might have taught you about caring for your teeth were not completely accurate. Because oral health is closely tied to overall health, it’s important to separate truth from myth. Below are some common misconceptions about oral health.
The harder you brush the better
Toothpaste commercials used to show a kid with his shirt off, lathering toothpaste on his toothbrush, proceeding to vigorously brush his teeth in a side-to-side motion, spraying flecks of toothpaste on the mirror, all to announce his completed task a mere 30 seconds later. Brushing harder and faster is not the best way to care for your teeth. Everyday Health explains that brushing too hard or with too abrasive of a toothbrush (medium or firm) can harm your teeth by eroding some of the hard enamel that protects the inside of the tooth from cavities and decay. Brushing in slow, circular motions, with gentle pressure and a soft-bristled toothbrush is best.
Brushing immediately after eating is best
Brushing your teeth after every meal is a good idea, but make sure you wait about 30 minutes, says Humana. Saliva is the best way to immediately offset the acids in the food that you eat so waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to allow your saliva to work its magic. This is especially important after eating or drinking things like orange juice or lemonade, and eating other fruits or vegetables.
Dental implants are too costly
While the thought of replacing teeth can be overwhelming, dental implants are a trusted and effective solution to many issues of the mouth. For many, the biggest obstacle is the cost. WebMD reports the higher expense is offset by better oral health, improved self-esteem, easier eating and convenience. What's more, with proper care, implants should last a lifetime. Stubbs Dental, a leader in dental implants in Utah, says "dental implants are the right choice for a variety of scenarios. A common reason is missing teeth. Accidents in athletics, slips, falls and gum disease can lead to teeth falling out. Age is another common cause of tooth loss. Dental implants are a way to get back the functionality you need in your mouth to eat and talk normally. ... Dental implants offer many benefits, and are excellent because they best mimic natural teeth. People can truly get their mouths back after tooth loss." While implants are not something one plans on, they should be considered a practical, affordable option for patients that might find them necessary.
You should rinse your mouth after brushing
Growing up, it seemed everyone had those little paper cups set aside the sink for rinsing after you brush. In an article by Berkeley Wellness, the writer explains that not rinsing after brushing is best. This is because of fluoride, the enamel protecting ingredient in your toothpaste. If rinsed off immediately after brushing the fluoride does not have the chance to protect and do its work on your enamel. If you find this habit hard to break, Berkeley Wellness suggests trying to rinse with "toothpaste slurry," meaning sipping only about 1 teaspoon of water with the toothpaste still in your mouth, briskly and briefly swishing, then spitting out with no other rinsing.
Tooth decay is mainly caused by sugar
While sugar can play a destructive role in tooth decay, it isn't the main perpetrator. Dental cavities result from bacteria and dental plaque is the habitat that allows the bacteria to flourish. The foods that play the biggest role in tooth decay are "foods that cling to your teeth for a long time — such as milk, ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, dried fruit, cake, cookies, hard candy and mints, dry cereal, and chips," reports the Mayo Clinic. Bacteria feed on the sugars and starches from these foods that remain on your teeth after inadequate brushing. Over time, acids in the plaque wear away minerals in tooth enamel and leaves holes susceptible to attack by bacteria and acid.