Myths vs. Facts in the Dental World

We’re bombarded with toothpaste, mouthwash, and tooth whitening ads constantly.  Not to mention the plethora of advice on how best to take care of your teeth. 

How much of it is useful, valid information?  The dentists and dental hygienists of Reddit have spoken.  This is their advice: 


Article Table of Contents: 

MYTH:  Zoom Whitening or Same Day Whitening is far better than take-home bleach kits provided by a dental professional.

Teeth Whitening Myths and FactsNo matter what method you use with tooth bleaching, it needs to be repeated over time.  It may seem that you leave your dentist’s office after one tooth whitening treatment with super white teeth, but that’s mainly due to process of ‘dessication.’ 

During this process, your teeth/mouth are dried out for 30-45+ minutes with no saliva contact, after which they would certainly appear whiter. 

The addition of bleach into this formula would have you very convinced that the dentist whitened your teeth after just one whitening session.

The truth is, after a few days, the moisture returns to your teeth which brings them back to their original color.  In order to have that whitening effect last, you need to repeat the bleaching process of your tooth enamel. 

The bleaching kits you can get from a dental office work very well over time -- just as well as a Zoom Whitening you would get from the dentist! 

Plus you can re-use the tooth molds and get a bleach re-fill down the road, which saves you money and time.

FACT: Dental whitestrips work!

On the subject of tooth whitening, if you can’t afford to get a take-home bleach kit from your dentist then the whitestrips you can purchase at the drug store can work very effectively!  New York-based dentist Dr. Michael Apa recommended in a Forbes Magazine interview Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects. 

He suggests you use them as follows for the best results:  “Since maximum efficacy of most bleach strips happens in the first 15 minutes, maximize your results by using three strips a session, changing them every 15 minutes for a total of 45 minutes a day.”

You must be patient however, because whitestrips will whiten your teeth in small increments.  If you require fast results, you’ll have to get a professional prescribed bleach treatment from your dentist.

FACT:  Soft drinks/juice/sports drinks are bad for your teeth.

YES!  One can of coke is equivalent to consuming 10 teaspoons of sugar.  10 teaspoons!  Shocking, right?  And the same amount of sugar you can find in a gatorade, powerade, propel, or other sports drink. 

Sports drinks are marketed by very clever people who have you convinced that as an athlete, you need those ‘electrolytes’ found in such beverages. 

But what happens is when your mouth is exposed to sugar this often, an acidic environment is created, which erodes your enamel and thus leads to tooth decay.  So please athletes, drink WATER to hydrate.

FACT: Most people brush their teeth too hard.

Children brushing teeth to hardFirst of all, you should be using a soft toothbrush -- ignore the ‘medium’ toothbrushes or any other type you see in the drug store.  A hard brush with tough bristles will damage your gums. 

Also, don’t put so much pressure on your teeth!  To determine how hard to brush, you should pretend you’re polishing a tomato.

FACT: Flossing is necessary.

Well, of course it is.  A toothbrush does NOT get at the food that collects between your teeth.  We all should know this by now. 

You should be particularly conscious of flossing if you are prone to cavities and bleeding gums -- a sign of developing gum disease.

MYTH:  Patients often state "the last tooth a dentist took out, he had his knee on my chest - literally!"

This does not happen, plain and simple.  If the tooth won’t come out with forceps, then a dentists will remove the tooth in sections GENTLY... by removing bone from around the tooth. 

A dentist would never remove a patient’s tooth in such a traumatic way.  So please, if you need a tooth removed, do not think this will happen to you.

Dr. Brad Hylan is a gentle and affordable comprehensive care dentist located in Cleveland, OH with a keen interest in history, travel, and wind-surfing.

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