MYTH #1 – Brushing Is More Important Than Eating
Believe it or not, what you eat is more important for the health of your teeth than how often you brush.
Great food for your keeping your smile healthy – cheese, sugar-free yoghurt, vegies, fresh fruit, nuts, sugar-free gum. Let’s call these foods ‘nutritious goodies’ for your teeth.
Not the best for your teeth – bread, crackers, pasta. Carbohydrates is considered a sugar, sugar is not the best for your teeth to keep healthy.
Definitely not the best for your teeth – honey, dried fruit, salad dressings with sugar added to them, chocolate and sweets. Let’s call these foods ‘cheeky foods’ for your teeth.
Tips when you’re going to eat a ‘cheeky food’, using a chocolate bar as an example: it’s better to eat the entire chocolate bar all at once, rather than taking a bite every half hour. Frequency is more important than quantity. It’s also better to have the chocolate bar as dessert (straight after a meal) rather than as a snack on its own.
Chewing sugar-free gum straight after a meal for 20minutes is good for your teeth. This is because chewing gum stimulates your saliva, and saliva is really good for your teeth. Teeth just love bathing in it. Kissing someone with too much saliva, that on the other hand is not a pleasant experience.
MYTH #2 – You Have To Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day
How long you brush your teeth is more important than how often you brush your teeth.
Brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day OR once a day for 6 minutes is the way to go. The reality is, some people work night shifts and their body clocks don’t always confine to everybody else’s AM start and PM end to the day. For some, their day starts at night and some people are night owls and go to bed at hours of the night that for some people is the start of their day. That’s why for some people, they don’t brush twice a day. That’s fine – if you’re one of those people, then it’s best to brush for longer than someone who brushes twice a day. 6 minutes to be exact.
MYTH #3 – You Should Brush Straight After A Meal
Brush too soon after meals and you’ll end up scrubbing away tooth enamel in the process. It’s not a bad idea to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before grabbing that toothbrush. In the meantime, chew on some sugar-free gum.
MYTH #4 – You Need An Injection Every Time You Get A Filling
About half of the fillings that I do, I don’t use an injection. Not because I am mean but because it is not necessary. If I know you will not get pain, I will give you the option of not numbing you. The only time I would insist to numb an area is if I am anticipating pain from the treatment. Enjoy the numbness as it’s temporary 🙂
Examples of when you don’t need to be number: When early decay is found, you can get away without giving an injection, when you get veneers done, if the tooth is broken and needs a simple repair, if the tooth has had root canal treatment…. and more.
MYTH #5 – You Have To Floss
The whole point of flossing is to remove the gunk and food between your teeth. There are several products on the market that act as a substitute to floss.
For anyone who has tried to floss and has given up, I cannot stress enough how frustrating and difficult flossing can be if you’re not used to the habit. It’s worth giving other products a go, such as pixters or flossettes. The only annoying thing is that they do cost more than floss and they’re only good for a few uses before they break. Use them every night after eating and after brushing your teeth, as the last thing you do before you go to bed.
The habit of flossing/ pixtering/ flossetting is like getting into the habit of running or going to gym. If you weren’t brought up with it, it’s a hard habit to get into. It takes months and months until you start vaguely enjoying it and truly appreciating the mental health benefits that running gives you. Once you’re used to it, you start to feel grubby and not yourself if you miss a running session. If you keep to flossing or using something similar, then at the end of the day, you’re really doing yourself a favour. I personally love to floss because I know how to floss properly. It’s cheap and once you get it right, your teeth feel dirty if you skip a session. Eventually you will join the minority of us who actually floss (or use something similar) and it does become an obsession, or as I like to call it, a flossession.
Fun fact about flossing or using something similar – if you floss everyday, you increase your life expectancy by at least 1 year. How? Flossing also reduces inflammation in the gum (not just preventing cavities in between your teeth) and inflammation in your entire body. Pretty much most of the major diseases in the body are somehow linked to inflammation. E.g. heart disease = inflammation around the heart, diabetes = inflammation worsens blood glucose levels, arthritis = inflammation around the joints.
Myth #6 If I don’t have a toothache, I don’t have a cavity
Unfortunately (or fortunately), our teeth don’t respond so visibily or noticeably as our bodies do when we are not treating our teeth right.
Decay is one of the mysteries of the human bodies where G-d created our teeth differently to how our other human organs behave. When someone a sore stomach, it means something is wrong with their stomach. When teeth get decay, they are not designed to feel pain. Most of the time if you don’t have a sore tooth, this does not mean that you don’t have a hole. If I had to look at other diseases in the body, diebtes would be similar. It’s quite insidious and by the time symptoms come about, prevention is too late.
Every now and then when I tell a patient they have a hole, their response is “but I don’t have a toothache”. I completely understand the logic behind this response and if I were G-d, I would design teeth differently. At least if we get pain, we can act immediately upon it. At least I would be doing more small fillings rather than big ones (and sometimes in order to save a tooth, root canal treatment is the only way).