You probably know a thing or two about taking care of your teeth. However, there are several common myths about oral hygiene that dentists hear regularly from their patients that aren’t necessarily true. Here are four of the most common myths about dental hygiene – debunked.

Myth 1: If your gums are bleeding when you brush, you should brush and floss less frequently. 

Reality: Bleeding gums are usually not an indication that you’re flossing too much or brushing too hard. Often, bleeding gums can indicate that plaque has accumulated in areas your toothbrush isn’t reaching. Flossing regularly can help keep those areas clean, limiting the damage harmful bacteria can do. If your gums are bleeding when you brush, it may be a sign that you need to floss more – not less.

Myth 2: Whitening your teeth is harmful.

Reality: While this myth might have had some grounding in reality in the 1980s and earlier, the methods and components dentists’ offices use to whiten teeth today are designed to be PH-neutral, meaning they will not break down the enamel on your teeth or damage your roots. Patients undergoing professional tooth whitening services sometimes experience some temporary sensitivity however, there should not be long-term pain or damage to teeth.

Myth 3: Pregnant women should avoid going to the dentist.

Reality: Nobody should ever completely avoid going to the dentist – including pregnant women. In fact, pregnancy hormones may actually change women’s saliva flow and cause pregnancy gingivitis. In addition, some women suffer from acid reflux during pregnancy, which can erode the enamel on their teeth. Getting dental care throughout pregnancy is important so that any issues can be addressed. It’s important to make sure your dentist knows you are expecting, so he or she can treat you appropriately. Most preventive dental care is completely safe however, you should avoid certain treatments including amalgam removal and antibiotics sometimes prescribed for certain infections.

Myth 4: Children don’t need dental care until their “adult” teeth come in.

Reality: Some parents mistakenly believe that since their children will be losing their “baby teeth” anyway, there is no need for preventive dental care until those teeth fall out. In reality, your child’s baby teeth serve several important functions so it’s important to keep them clean and cavity-free. It is also beneficial to establish solid oral hygiene habits in children early – including getting them used to the idea of going to the dentist. Children should visit the dentist for the first time when their first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday. Then, regular visits should occur every six months, so your child’s dentist can help prevent tooth decay or other dental health issues. Your pediatric dentist can help you teach your child the importance of caring for their teeth by brushing correctly (and regularly), and flossing.

If you believed any of these myths before reading this post, you’re not alone – these are all common misconceptions. When you have a better understanding of your oral health, you can take better care of your teeth and help other family members have healthy, bright smiles. Ask your dentist about more common myths – he or she has likely heard them all.

Triangle Dentistry located in Raleigh, NC provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns and implants to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3592.