You might think that you know all you need to about teeth – brush and floss to clean them, don’t have too much sugar or you’ll rot them, see your dentist regularly to take care of them – but you may actually be holding one of these common misconceptions. Here are three common myths about teeth, and the real dental facts behind them.
Sugar rots teeth.
It’s not quite as cut-and-dry as this. While it’s true that sugar can lead to cavity formation, which in turn can lead to other dental problems, another culprit of tooth decay is carbohydrates. Bacteria that naturally occur in the mouth create acids that combine with saliva, the result of which is plaque buildup on the teeth. This often happens with the consumption of carbohydrates.
Brushing harder will get your teeth cleaner.
This is definitely not true. As strong as tooth enamel is, it can still be damaged by overly vigorous brushing or being brushed with a hard-bristled toothbrush. Your teeth aren’t the only things at risk when you brush too hard either – your gum line is also affected and may start to recede. When you’re brushing your teeth, don’t think “scrubbing,” but “massaging.” It may also help if you switch to a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles, or use an electric toothbrush.
Silver fillings are harmless.
According to an FDA report in 2015, nearly 50 percent of silver fillings are made of mercury. With the possibility that, over time, the mercury within fillings could start to leech out into the mouth (a risk that’s higher for people who grind their teeth, drink hot or carbonated beverages, or chew gum often), it’s very important to have these fillings replaced promptly. On top of that, metal fillings are also more likely to expand in the mouth with enough heat, increasing the chances of tooth fractures and cracks.