You’re Flossing Your Teeth Wrong! 7 Dental Myths Exposed
Feeling guilty about OD’ing on that Costco-sized pack of gummy bears? Don’t. Turns out eating sweets doesn’t actually cause cavities — that is as long as you’re brushing and flossing correctly. Unfortunately, according to the three dental experts we spoke with, many us have a long way to go when it comes to optimizing our dental hygiene habits. In an effort to make our next office visit as painless as possible, we asked said experts to bust the most commonly held dental myths.
Myth No. 1: Hard bristle brushes are best
“A lot of the common mistakes with brushing your teeth can be avoided by choosing the right toothbrush,” says Dr. Victoria Veytsman, owner of Cosmetic Dental Studios. “People tend to pick a toothbrush with hard bristles thinking it will remove plaque better and this can wear the enamel. Soft bristles are the better choice. People tend to brush too hard and this can cause damage to the gums and enamel. An excellent choice would be an electric toothbrush like Sonicare because electric toothbrushes can remove at least 50% more plaque with less effort. This will also keep you brushing longer (at least 2 minutes!) All of this will reduce plaque and bacteria and protect against cavities and gingivitis.”
Myth No. 2: Flossing is a simple, up-and-down motion
“The key to flossing is getting in between the spaces of the teeth and slightly below the gums where the bacteria resides. Some of this bacteria causes gum disease and can damage the bone surrounding your teeth causing more serious problems. It’s very important that flossing isn’t just a simple up and down motion since that will merely get food particles out. Further, floss should be easy to use so that it glides gently between teeth and doesn’t shred. For this, lightly waxed is the best option,” explains Dr. Veytsman.
If you find this difficult she suggests opting for something like the Airfloss Pro. “It’s a bit more user friendly than floss and quicker too! It removes just as much plaque as flossing and take a lot less time. You can use this product with mouthwash — and mouthwash kills about 99% of bacteria. So here you have the effects of both flossing and mouthwash at the same time. It’s a win-win situation for your smile.”
Myth No. 3: Silver fillings are bad
“Many dentists will try and convince you that you should remove your silver fillings because of mercury issues. The answer is no you don’t, there is no research to demonstrate silver fillings are bad for you and in fact the American Dental Association still supports the use of amalgam fillings,” explains New York-based periodontist Dr. Nicholas Toscano.
Myth No. 4: Eating candy causes cavities
“As long as you brush and floss twice a day and remove the sugary candy substance, it does not necessarily cause cavities. When you don’t have a good oral hygiene regimen and you leave sugar and food deposits on your teeth that’s when cavities form,” says Dr. Toscano.
Myth No. 5: Chewing gum is bad for your teeth
“Chewing stimulates saliva production, which helps flush your mouth of foods and beverages that can stain teeth, but it is best to use sugar-free gum,” according to the cosmetic dentists at Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor.
Myth No. 6: Whitening toothpaste bleaches teeth
“A whitening toothpaste alone is not strong enough to achieve a whiter smile — it must be used in conjunction with other at‐home whitening products or as a follow up to an in‐office whitening treatment. Whitening toothpastes at best remove surface stains from your teeth,” explain the dentists at Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor.
Myth No. 7: Whitening makes all teeth sensitive
“During the process of bleaching, teeth may become temporarily sensitive for a few patients who already have a history of sensitive teeth. However, most dental offices have different gels that prevent the sensitivity during and after the treatment,” explain practitioners from Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor.