Dental myths are not always true. Our own Dr. Cindy Brayer and dental hygienist Tiffany Fager recently sat down with Gayle Guyardo on a segment of Bloom to debunk five of the most common dental myths.
Myth #1: Drinking diet soda is better than regular soda for your teeth
“Although that seems to make sense because diet sodas are sugar-free, they’re actually very highly acidic, and that’s very bad for your tooth structure because the enamel, which is the outer layer of your tooth, will be weakened with a lot of acids on it, and that ends up causing it to be more susceptible to getting cavities, as well as getting tooth erosion,” explained Dr. Brayer.
“I actually have here two different sodas. One is diet, one is regular. And both sodas, if you look at the ingredients, both have phosphoric acid, and that’s just horrible for your teeth. The bottom line is all sodas are bad for your teeth. However, if you’re gonna drink sodas, my suggestion would be three things. One, to use a straw so that when you’re drinking it, it bypasses the teeth, and it goes all the way in the back. The second thing would be to drink it all in one sitting and not to sip it so that you’re not prolonging all of the acids in your mouth. And the third thing is to drink some water afterward so that it will help to rinse out all of the sugars and the acids in your mouth.”
Myth #2: Flossing is not as important as brushing
“Brushing is important because you remove the fuzzy plaque off your teeth that you can see and feel. And getting the bacteria off helps you lower your risk for getting bacteria for cavities or for infection or bad breath and gum disease,” Fager said, adding, “So that’s great, but the plaque is sneaky and it will hide between your teeth and tuck under your gums. So the string floss can actually get between your teeth and gently slide under your gums. So it gets more tooth surface than just brushing alone.”
Myth #3: Tooth whitening weakens your teeth
“That is a very common myth. And the answer is no, tooth whitening does not weaken your teeth because the enamel, the outer surface of your tooth structure, is actually the hardest structure in your body. And so when you’re whitening your teeth, you use chemicals that will dissolve the stains but it will not damage the enamel,” Dr. Brayer stated.
Myth #4: The harder the toothbrush you have the cleaner your teeth will be
“I know this is very counterintuitive. You think when you brush really hard, you’re doing a great job getting all of the bacteria and everything off of your teeth. But you’re actually scraping your teeth. And the hard stiff bristles can’t get between your teeth or tuck under your gums at all,” explained Fager.
“So where we have done is we take a close-up picture of your teeth. And we see that when you brush really hard, it wears down your teeth. And sometimes we can tell the difference whether it’s brushing really hard, or if you’re notching your teeth from teeth trauma. And when you wear your teeth down, they can be very sensitive. So my patients can’t quit cold turkey hard brush, but you can get a Sonicare or a toothbrush like this with really soft bristles. And the scrubbing motion makes you feel like you’re getting a really good clean.”
Myth #5: If the tooth does not hurt, then there is no problem and you should not do anything
“Unfortunately, we hear this all the time, especially when we’re recommending treatment for patients,” said Dr. Brayer. “For example, when we say ‘you need a filling’ and then the patient says ‘but it doesn’t hurt me’. However, if you wait until it hurts, it’s going to need a root canal or an extraction. So we tell them to do it before it hurts. Because once it hurts, it’s going to be a much larger issue you have to deal with.”
Creating Smiles is one of Pinellas County’s leading providers of cosmetic and general dentistry services, including Invisalign, teeth whitening, dental implants, and oral cancer screenings. To schedule your in-office or virtual new patient consultation please call our St. Petersburg office (727-323-0377) or Clearwater office (727-791-8823).