We have been told things our entire lives about how to best care for our teeth. But are all of these practices really the best when it comes to caring for your teeth? Take this list of myths put together by a Pocatello dentist to help you decipher myth from fact.
Brush your teeth after every meal.
After you eat, the acidity from the food in your mouth can temporarily weaken the enamel. Brushing your teeth right after eating, while there is a lot of acidity, can cause your enamel to wear down quicker. Waiting a half hour to an hour is much better on your teeth, after your body has naturally processed that food and lowered the acidity levels in your mouth.
Frequent snacking is good for your teeth.
Many people believe that snacking many times throughout the day is good for your teeth because chewing produces saliva, which breaks down your food quicker and is full of minerals that protect the teeth. But eating sugars and starches without for a long period of time or without breaks can cause more damage to the enamel because it doesn’t allow time for the acidity levels in your mouth to go down. And then, like previously mentioned, if you go to brush your teeth while acid is attacking your enamel, you could weaken it further. Don’t avoid snacking, especially healthy snacking, because of this. Just give your teeth a good 30-60 minute break in between snack sessions.
The more you brush your teeth, the healthier teeth you will have.
Brushing your teeth too frequently can cause the enamel to wear down. The enamel is the protective outer layer of your tooth. It keeps the nerves protected and your teeth strong. Just as brushing too often isn’t healthy for your teeth, brushing too hard can also damage the enamel. If you are unsure how often or how firm you should brush your teeth, ask your dentist for the best brushing techniques for you.
A toothache is a sign of a cavity.
While this can be true, not every toothache you have is related to a cavity. Many factors can affect our teeth, especially during cold season. A common sign of a sinus infection is tooth pain. Tooth pain can also be caused by inflammation of the gums or tooth sensitivity. So, before you call “cavity” on your tooth, pay attention to the signs and other causes that it could be. It doesn’t hurt to make an appointment with your dentist if you are unsure about the cause of the pain. They can help you determine the source of the pain and the best course of action for treatment.
George Washington had wooden teeth.
Okay, so this one isn’t about caring for your teeth, but this might be the biggest myth about teeth out there, probably mostly due to speculation. George Washington did have fake teeth, but they were not made of wood. In his 20’s he began experiencing regular tooth pain and decay, and he started losing teeth. He went to many dentists in an effort to save or replace his teeth. He had dentures made of metal, gold, and even hippopotamus ivory, but never made of wood. All of these fake teeth gave him enough issues as it was with facial disfiguration and general discomfort. Wooden teeth would have brought a new realm of problems for this unfortunate man.