Common Myths About Teeth

Teeth. You use them all the time, so you may think you know them like the back of your hand. But since there are many myths about teeth floating around, it's possible you have some false beliefs about them. Here you will learn what some common teeth myths are so that you can take better care of your pearly whites.

Myth #1 - You should always brush your teeth after eating.

Since brushing one's teeth regularly is a good habit, many people mistakenly believe that they should brush their teeth immediately after every meal. As a child, you may have even been scolded by your parents if you forgot to brush your teeth after dinner. But the truth is that brushing your teeth after a meal may do more harm than good. This is because acidic foods and drinks (such as citrus fruits or soda, for example) erode enamel on teeth. And if you brush your teeth too soon after eating these foods, it may erode enamel even more.

So instead of brushing your teeth immediately after an acidic meal, make sure to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before doing so. However, you should still brush your teeth at least twice a day. 

Myth #2 - Sugar rots your teeth.

While many people believe that sugar causes tooth decay on its own, the truth is more complicated than that. It is not sugar but the interaction of sugar and bacteria that causes tooth decay. This is because when bacteria interacts with sugar, harmful acids are formed. These acids wear down your tooth enamel, weakening your teeth over time.

To prevent this from happening, you will of course want to limit your intake of sugary foods. Keep in mind that this includes foods such as chips and pasta, since these foods are broken down into sugars. You will also want to make sure sugars don't stay in your mouth too long. For example, you could use a straw when drinking a soda to limit the drink's interaction with your teeth. You could also avoid sugary foods that stay in your mouth for a long time, such as lollipops. Another good practice is to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking foods containing sugar.

Now that you know about some common dental myths, you can use this knowledge to make smarter choices about how to care for your teeth. If you have any other dental questions, be sure to consult a family dentist like Dr. Linda K. Nichols.