There are plenty of places to get oral health advice — our dental office in Madison, friends or family members, and perhaps even the internet. But not all dental advice is created equal. In fact, there are several tips that we’ve heard that are just not true, some of which can actually be harmful to your oral health. This month we take a look at some of the common dental myths that you shouldn’t believe, let alone try.
Chewing Gum or Using Mouthwash is Just as Good as Brushing
Even though chewing a piece of gum or taking a quick swish of mouthwash can quickly freshen breath, they’re not solid replacements for proper brushing and flossing. If you can’t brush right away, let’s say after eating at a restaurant, go ahead and chew some gum (make sure it’s sugar-free!) or rinse with mouthwash. But don’t go too long without brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste or flossing. You should brush twice and floss once daily.
Putting Aspirin on a Toothache Can Relieve Pain
This myth is especially concerning for your dentist in Madison. It started as an old wives tale that promised easy and quick toothache relief. But the truth is, chewing or placing an aspirin tablet on your gums can cause damage. Since aspirin is acidic it can easily burn the gums and make the pain worse. Instead, rinse your mouth with warm salt water, gently floss, or use over-the-counter pain medicine as directed. If the pain doesn’t go away, schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Root Canals Hurt
Root canals have a reputation of being incredibly painful, and that’s just not true. A root canal is needed when decay has progressed so much that it begins to infect the inside of the tooth. This is where all of the tooth’s roots live, which makes decay this severe very painful. Root canal treatment actually removes the infection and the pain. The procedure itself is done when the mouth is numb, so it’s completely painless.
Brushing Harder Removes More Plaque
Logically, it makes sense that brushing harder will mean a cleaner mouth. But in fact, brushing too hard can cause damage. A rough scrubbing with your toothbrush can damage tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay. It can also damage gums, cause them to recede, and increase sensitivity.
Seeing a Dentist Isn’t Necessary Unless You Have a Problem
Even though it’s recommended that everyone visit the dentist twice a year, only about 64% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 have seen their dentist in the past year. A common belief is that you don’t need to go to the dentist if you don’t have a problem. However, regular checkups and cleanings are the best way to prevent a problem from ever occurring.
In order to maintain good oral health, it’s crucial to practice good habits such as brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist bi-annually. If it’s time for your dental checkup, schedule an appointment with our Madison dental office today.