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Busting Five Dental Myths

Is what you've heard about dental care true? Let's set the record straight.

Dental Myth #1

"There's no need to brush your baby's teeth."

Babies can get cavities just like adults. Your child may have an increased risk of tooth decay if they are allowed to fall asleep with a bottle containing sugary liquids, juice, or formula after the eruption of their first tooth. In addition, many baby foods are fruit-based, which can leave a sticky residue on the teeth. Tooth decay can start as soon as your baby's first teeth appear. Start your baby on the path to good oral health by using a wet washcloth on his or her gums, then graduate to a small soft toothbrush when the teeth begin to come in.

Dental Myth #2

"Bad breath means you're not brushing correctly."

Bad breath can be a result of problems from three places: your mouth, your nose or your stomach. If you eat garlic, the scent you smell afterwards comes from your stomach. When you have sinus drainage, this can also cause an odor. Tongue hygiene can also play an important role. So, it's not necessarily your brushing that's at fault. If you are concerned about your breath, avoid foods with strong odors, consult your physician if you are prone to sinus issues and don't forget to brush your tongue. It is still important to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss daily to keep your mouth smelling clean and fresh.

Dental Myth #3

"Brushing causes gums to bleed!"

Bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. If you see blood when you are brushing or flossing, be extra attentive to your technique, the length of time you spend cleaning your teeth and how frequently you are brushing and flossing. In addition, visit your dentist for an examination and discuss your symptoms with them. Your dentist may recommend using an oral rinse or other oral hygiene tools for you to use. These tools might include items such as an electric toothbrush, power flosser, floss picks, or other tools to clean between your teeth. In some circumstances, your dentist may recommend that you see a gum specialist or periodontist.

Dental Myth #4

"Placing an aspirin on a tooth helps with the pain of a toothache."

Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug. If you have a toothache, you can swallow aspirin to dull the ache. Do not place aspirin directly on a tooth or its surrounding gum tissue. Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid. If you place aspirin on a tooth, its contact with your gums and inside of the cheek is unavoidable. This can easily cause an acid burn on your gum and cheek tissue.

Dental Myth #5

"Only sugar is bad for your teeth."

Eating sugary foods increases your risk of tooth decay, because sugar combines with the plaque in your mouth to make acid. When your teeth are exposed to this acid, decay may occur. However, eating and drinking acidic foods can also increase your risk of decay. These foods include citrus juices, fruits, sodas, sports drinks and vinegar-based products. The acid can soften and weaken the protective enamel on your teeth. If you choose to have acidic drinks or foods, consider rinsing your mouth with water afterwards.

Fact vs. Myth

When it comes to learning about oral health, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what is fact or fiction. The internet can function as a resource for information about common dental myths. However, make sure to consider who is providing the information to determine if it is a credible source. Two of the most reliable sources for accurate information are your dentist and the American Dental Association.

Note: The information in this document is not meant to replace the advice of your dentist or another licensed healthcare professional. Talk to your dentist for any specific dental advice.