September is Colgate Oral Health Month. To raise awareness of the importance of teeth brushing Colgate have come up with a Top Ten Oral Health Myths list to help create a better understanding of oral health.
Did you think any of these were true?...
Myth One: When gums bleed it’s a sign that I’m brushing too hard
On the contrary, bleeding gums are a warning sign indicating that you need to pay more attention to your gums rather than avoid brushing them. Bleeding gums are one of the first symptoms of gum disease and should not be ignored.
Myth Two: Brushing too much can wear away the enamel
There is some truth in this, although only if you’re brushing incorrectly. Brushing too much, too hard or with a hard-bristle brush can, over time, erode your enamel. It’s also important to use an effective brushing technique to help ensure you are cleaning your teeth properly.
Myth Three: Good teeth are inherited so there’s not much I can do
While that is a nice excuse to get away with not taking good care of your teeth it’s just not true. While the shape, position and, to some small degree, strength of your teeth may be influenced by your genes, the effectiveness of your personal oral care routine is the biggest factor by far when it comes to having healthy teeth and gums.
Myth Four: For every child you have you lose a tooth
A lot of dentists hear this from their patients who believe that during pregnancy the baby depletes the mother’s mineral supplies and makes the mother more susceptible to weakened and damaged teeth. This is a myth and is simply not the case. If the mother practices good brushing and flossing habits, they are no more likely to get cavities during pregnancy than at any other time.
Myth Five: Rubbing teeth with strawberries whitens them
It would be nice to think that this is the case. There is some truth in this due to the fact that strawberries contain a natural fruit acid called muric acid, which can remove some surface stains, but it’s a very temporary effect. For longer term solutions, use a daily whitening toothpaste. If you’re looking to whiten your teeth permanently, then always visit a professional, however, be warned that whitened teeth can be subject to higher sensitivity as the enamel becomes temporarily more porous in the process.
Myth Six: Flossing is bad for your teeth because it makes your gums bleed
If your gums bleed when you floss, this is a warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored. Bleeding gums are not normal and are one of the first signs of gum disease. Rather than causing the problem, if your gums bleed when you floss, it merely alerts us to the existing problem. In fact regular flossing helps prevent the problem by allowing the removal of plaque and food particles in the spaces between the teeth and gums in places where a toothbrush can’t easily reach, helping to prevent gum problems. As plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
Myth Seven: Brushing directly after an acidic meal will reduce damage from enamel erosion
On the contrary, it’s best to wait a while after eating acidic foods because the acid weakens your enamel and if you brush straight afterwards you may be further weakening the enamel.
Myth Eight: Rubbing your teeth with salt is better than toothpaste
No is the simple answer. The Department of Health guidelines recommend we brush our teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a key ingredient to help strengthen and protect the teeth from decay. While salt does contain natural antiseptic properties, it is no substitute for using fluoride.
Myth Nine: Receding gums is all part of getting older, there’s nothing you can do about it
Receding gums are caused by gum disease and occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth reduces exposing the root of the tooth. It can also be caused by overbrushing. While it is more common in those over the age of 40, it may start as early as in the late teens.
Myth Ten: Eating parsley neutralises bad breath
While eating parsley can be effective if you’ve just eaten a strong smelling food, the most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Bacteria that coat your teeth, tongue and gums can cause plaque build-up (the soft, sticky deposit that forms on the surface of the teeth), gum disease and dental decay. These bacteria combine with saliva and food in the mouth, breaking down food particles and proteins, which releases an unpleasant-smelling gas.
Colgate also have 1000 Healthy Mouth Manual posters to give away - ideal for the bathroom door!
How to claim yours
Email your name and address to email@example.com ... but be quick, it's first come first served!
During Colgate's Oral Health Month Colgate will be on tour around the country to provide oral health advice for free. You can find out where they will be by visiting their Facebook page www.facebook.com/ColgateUK and to have your oral health questions answered by dental experts.