This post is going to challenge some of the common myths around dental health that are actually incorrect, some of them may surprise you!
Mouthwash is essential for a health mouth – It is essential to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean in between the spaces of your teeth with floss or interdental brushes to prevent decay and dental caries. After brushing your teeth, it is recommended that you spit the excess toothpaste out but do not rinse the remaining toothpaste away as there are high levels of fluoride in the toothpaste which helps to protect the teeth. Mouthwash contains much lower levels of fluoride than toothpaste and some brands do not contain any, by rinsing with mouthwash immediately after brushing your teeth you are washing away the benefits of the toothpaste. Whilst mouthwash can help to freshen your breath it should only be used as an added extra to your oral hygiene routine at a separate time to brushing and flossing.
Flossing is harmful for the gums because it makes them bleed – If you haven’t flossed in between your teeth before or if you have left it a while there is a high chance that harmful bacteria has built up in between your teeth. This can cause your gums to become inflamed making them more prone to bleeding when disturbed. So when you first start flossing you may notice a small amount of bleeding in the area caused by this inflammation. Your dentist or hygienist will show you the correct technique to use to ensure you do not cause any damage when flossing. A small amount of bleeding for the first few days is normal but if you stick with it every day the inflammation will start to reduce resulting in no bleeding. This is because you are removing the harmful bacteria regularly and the gums are no longer inflamed so keep flossing!
I should only visit the dentist if I am in pain – When a tooth becomes painful there is a high chance that something is wrong and you are likely to need a lot of treatment to fix the problem. Regular visits to your dentist can actually help to prevent these problems before they occur which in the long term will result in less pain, expense and hassle for you. Long gone are the days when a dentist would just take teeth out if they were a problem, dental teams are now highly trained to teach you how to keep your teeth healthy. Your dentist will tell you how regularly you should be seeing them for a check up which is much more convenient than waiting until you are in pain.
If I have toothache I will need antibiotics – There are a number of causes for toothache, antibiotics are only helpful if a tooth has a bacterial infection which a dentist can often determine by taking an x-ray of the painful area. Antibiotics are only prescribed when they are really necessary as we are becoming more aware of ‘antibiotic resistance’ worldwide and the whole medical community is aware that antibiotics should only be prescribed when they are essential.