3 Oral Health Misconceptions

From brushing and flossing to scheduling regular dental checkups, most people think they know the key to good oral health. Unfortunately, understanding the mouth, teeth, and gums and how to care for your smile's look and overall health is not so simple. This guide will help you learn the truths about a few common oral health misconceptions.

Heavy Brushing Is Good for your Teeth

There is a common misconception that brushing heavily is best for your teeth and gums. In reality, excessive or harsh brushing can actually cause more harm than good to your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue.

Brushing too frequently or brushing hard with a hard-bristled brush can wear down the tooth enamel. Without a strong and complete layer of enamel, the teeth will have a higher risk of cavities and decay. Excessive and harsh brushing can also irritate the gum tissue, interior of the mouth, and tongue, causing inflammation and pain.

To effectively brush your teeth and gums without harming your oral health, dentists recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time. You should also use a soft-bristled toothbrush, ensuring that the bristles do not damage or irritate your teeth and gums.

Braces Are for Teenagers

Another misconception people believe is that braces, or orthodontic care in general, is only necessary for teenagers. Although adolescents most commonly wear braces, orthodontic treatment is available for people of all ages.

Young children who have issues with their bite, such as overbites, crossbites, underbites, gaps, or overcrowding, can benefit from orthodontic care even before they become teenagers. Expanders, retainers, and braces can be used to correct these bites as your child grows and develops.

Adults can also benefit from orthodontic care. From metal braces and clear orthodontic aligners, adults can correct misaligned bites and crooked teeth even though they have aged passed their teenage years.

Sugar Causes Cavities and Tooth Decay

Most people believe sugar is the main cause of cavities/tooth decay. While it does not help, sugar is not the main cause of cavities and decay.

Plaque is actually the cause of cavities and decay. Without proper brushing and flossing, the plaque will combine with the acids and bacteria naturally found in the mouth, eroding enamel and eventually causing cavities to form.

If you are concerned about the risk of cavities and decay, you do not need to cut of sugary, sweet foods entirely. You should, however, brush, floss, and schedule routine cleanings with your dentist to reduce the risk of plaque buildup. A company like Thornley Dental can provide more information about how to care for your teeth.