6 Oral Health Myths We Learned From Our Parents

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We’ve all heard myths. While you might not have necessarily heard about dental myths and misconceptions, they’re out there. Because we believe in education and helping you make informed decisions when it comes to your dental health, we’re here to cover some of those myths. Our article at a glance includes:

-How do you know if your teeth are bad? Our gentle dentists remind you that even if your teeth feel fine, still have them checked.

-Why does chocolate hurt my teeth? We’ll explain why it shouldn’t!

-Does whitening damage your teeth? We have the details.

-What happens if you only brush your teeth in the morning? Our Lincoln, NE dentists explain.

-Is milk bad for your teeth at night? You might be surprised.

How long does a root canal tooth last? With proper care, it can last years, but it’s still at risk. See why!

6 Oral Health Myths We Learned From Our Parents

Parents have a tough task ahead of them. After all, it took a lot to get us to sports practices, to keep us working hard in school, and to help us learn the skills we need for adult life. When it comes to our health, some habits stick better than others. The world of dentistry has changed a lot from the time of our parents. While it isn’t our parents’ fault, many of the oral health myths that stick around have since been disproven, and need to be addressed.

It seems obvious to say, but everyone wants a pearly white, healthy smile. But not everyone who wants that kind of smile gets it. But how come? Let’s explore some of the oral health myths that are negatively affecting your bright white smile.

Image of a woman who is thinking about oral health myths and wondering where she can find answers.

1. As long as my teeth don’t hurt, they’re fine.

This oral health myth is a long-standing one. We tend to think of teeth just like other parts of our body – if they don’t hurt, there’s nothing wrong with them. On the contrary, our teeth need to be tended to more frequently than much of our body. If we lived by this myth all the time, our mouths would be full of hidden cavities, infection, and probably a good dose of bad breath.

Instead, it’s necessary to brush twice a day, floss daily, and especially, to see the dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings. During these cleanings, our dentists will thoroughly check your teeth and make sure there are no issues. It’s entirely possible to have problems with your teeth without them hurting. That’s why a dental health professional needs to take a look and let you know your teeth are a-okay.

Image of a jar of chocolate. One oral health myth is that chocolate cause teeth to ache.

2. Eating chocolate causes teeth to ache.

You might experience tooth discomfort when you eat sugar. Sure, that’s a common thought. But it isn’t the sugar that’s causing your teeth to hurt. Teeth aren’t supposed to hurt normally, and if they do, there’s something wrong. Dental caries, or cavities, are the cause of your tooth discomfort, and sugar is only accentuating that.

If you’re used to feeling discomfort from eating sweets, it’s time to see a dentist. They’ll be able to get you fixed up, so you don’t have to get a toothache every time you eat sugar.

Image of a smiling patient. An old oral health myth says that teeth whitening damages your teeth.

3. Teeth whitening damages your teeth.

This oral health myth is courtesy of the sensitivity you experience after having your teeth whitened. We have to remember that teeth whitening doesn’t really cause this sensitivity. This sensitivity is caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene. Because of this sensitivity, many still believe the oral health myth that teeth whitening is hurting your teeth. But what hurts our teeth the most is a lack of proper oral hygiene!

It’s important to make teeth-brushing a daily routine at night and in the morning. Brushing your teeth twice a day will help keep your enamel strong, clean, white, and ultimately less-sensitive. So when you go in for teeth whitening, you’ll be less prone to sensitivity!

Image of a patient getting ready to brush her teeth. One dental myths is that if you only brush in the morning, your teeth are fine.

4. I only brush my teeth in the morning, and my teeth are fine.

This oral health myth is piggybacking on the last point. Many people grew up brushing their teeth in the morning, but not at night, or vice-versa. On the contrary, this doesn’t bode well for our teeth. Our teeth often hold many hidden problems, and brushing your teeth less will only worsen these problems.

It’s never too late to change your habits, though! Even if this applies to you, don’t fret. Start working towards brushing your teeth twice a day and you’ll be impressed with yourself. While you’re at it, be sure to visit the dentist often to help keep you in check.

Image of milk. Some myths state that "milk is good for baby teeth, so you don't need to check them."

5. Milk is good for baby teeth, so I don’t need to check my child’s smile after giving them milk. Besides, they’ll have adult teeth coming in someday anyway.

This oral health myth goes way back. Because the calcium in milk is good for growing bones, many have applied this logic to our teeth. For a long time, parents have thought it unnecessary to check their baby’s teeth regularly as a result, as long as their children are drinking milk. But failing to keep a close eye on your child’s baby teeth can lead to future problems, even for their adult teeth.

After a baby drinks milk, juice, or otherwise, it’s important to gently brush their teeth. This removes any plaque that might remain and ensures strong enamel. Improper care for baby teeth will lead to tartar and plaque growth on adult teeth. This could ultimately lead to extensive dental care, but can be avoided by keeping a close eye on your child’s baby teeth!

Image of a woman who is thinking about oral health myths after having a root canal.

6. After having a root canal, my tooth isn’t threatened anymore.

It’s tough to trace the roots of this myth. But it’s a big myth indeed. In a root canal, your dentist removes the nerve of your teeth. It seems that people think a “rootless tooth” is a healthy one. But this isn’t exactly the case. After a root canal, even with a crown, your tooth is susceptible to cracks and breaks. Although it may no longer hurt, it isn’t impenetrable.

Take care of your root canal teeth by brushing regularly, flossing carefully around the crown, and seeing your dentist often. This will help you take great care of the tooth, avoiding future dental treatment.

Correcting Oral Health Myths and Misconceptions

Save your teeth by correcting these oral health myths! Down the road, you’ll be glad you did.

One of the easiest ways to correct these oral health myths is to come see us. Together, we can offer tips and tricks for keeping your teeth healthy at home. At your appointment, we’ll give you a comprehensive exam, and we’re also happy to offer teeth whitening specials!

The information on this page was written by Dr. Kelly O’Hara.

This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I am extremely passionate about helping people of all ages and always strive to impact their lives for the better. I am fully committed to making sure all patients feel comfortable while in my care.”

You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or her partners, online 24/7 at a Nebraska Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Waverly, Davey, Raymond, Garland, Ceresco, Greenwood, and Malcom, Roca, Bennet, Firth, Crete, Hickman, and many more!

Learn about how thumb sucking and pacifiers affect children

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