Dental Reality Check: Busting Myths and Boosting Knowledge

When it comes to our oral health, it's easy to get caught up in myths and misconceptions that can lead to misunderstandings and misinformed decisions. But what if we told you that some of the most common dental "facts" you've learned are just myths? In this blog, we're taking a closer look at some of the most common dental myths and debunk them with facts. From the idea that white teeth are automatically healthier, to the notion that sugar is the sole cause of tooth decay, we'll explore the truth behind these dental myths and what you can do to maintain optimal oral health. 



MYTH: White teeth are healthier.


Dental Fact: Having white teeth does not necessarily mean they are healthier. Teeth can appear white due to various reasons, including tooth whitening and dental treatment. In fact, teeth that are too white can be a sign of over-bleaching, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and weakened enamel. Healthy teeth can have a natural off-white colour or be slightly yellow due to the presence of fluorapatite, which is a natural component of tooth enamel.



MYTH: Baby teeth do not matter.


Dental Fact: Baby teeth otherwise known as primary or deciduous teeth play a crucial role in the development of permanent teeth. They help guide the eruption of permanent teeth. Additionally, baby teeth can develop cavities and other oral health issues, just like adult teeth, which can lead to pain and discomfort, potentially affecting the permanent adult tooth forming to replace it.



MYTH: Sugar is the sole cause of tooth decay.


Dental Fact: While sugar is a common contributor to tooth decay, it’s not the only culprit. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and starches, producing acid that can damage tooth enamel. Other factors, such as inadequate oral hygiene, poor diet, and lack of fluoride, also contribute to tooth decay. So, while sugar consumption should be limited, it’s not the sole cause of tooth decay.



MYTH: Flossing is unnecessary


Dental Fact: Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene that helps remove food particles and plaque from between teeth and under the gumline. Flossing daily can help prevent gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay. Even if you brush your teeth regularly, flossing ensures that you’re cleaning all surfaces of your teeth. And don’t worry if traditional flossing methods don’t work for you – there are many alternative floss styles and flossing aids available, such as flosser picks, floss handles to assist with traditional floss, electric flossers, and water flossers. There is a way to floss for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or dental condition. By incorporating flossing into your oral hygiene routine, you can take a proactive approach to maintaining health teeth and gums.



MYTH: Braces are only for kids.


Dental Fact: Braces are not just for kids! While many children wear braces to correct orthodontic issues, adults can also benefit from orthodontic treatment. In fact, many adults wear braces to correct issues such as crooked teeth, overcrowding, or jaw misalignment. Orthodontic treatment can improve oral health, boost self-confidence, and even improve overall health by reducing the risk of gum disease and other oral health issues.



MYTH: You should avoid the dentist during pregnancy.


Dental Fact: During pregnancy you should NOT avoid the dentist! Regular dental check-ups during pregnancy can help prevent oral health issues that can affect overall health and wellbeing. In fact, many dental problems can be exacerbated during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Dentists can work with pregnant patients to ensure their oral health needs are met while also considering any special precautions during their pregnancy.



MYTH: Brushing harder cleans better.


Dental Fact: Brushing harder doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cleaning your teeth better. In fact, brushing too hard can damage tooth enamel and gums. Instead, use gentle circular motions with a soft-bristles toothbrush. This gentle approach is effective in removing plaque and bacteria without causing irreversible harm.



MYTH: The hygienist makes your gums bleed.


Dental Fact: Bleeding gums is often a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis, which can occur due to poor oral hygiene as well as other factors. A hygienist’s goal is to help prevent or manage these conditions through professional cleanings and personalized oral hygiene advice. Bleeding during a dental cleaning is often a sign that there’s an underlying issue that needs attention.



MYTH: Tooth loss is genetic.


Dental Fact: While some people may be more prone to tooth loss due to genetic factors, such as tooth structure or jaw alignment, it’s not always the case. Tooth loss can be caused by various factors, including oral hygiene habits, diet, smoking, and other lifestyle choices. Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental care can help prevent tooth loss.



MYTH: Crowns and fillings protect against future decay.


Dental Fact: Crowns and fillings do not provide a guarantee against future decay. While these restorations can help stop the progression of decay by filling cavities or protecting vulnerable areas of teeth, they do not eliminate the risk of new decay entirely. Bacteria can accumulate around the margins where the restorations meet the natural tooth, and without proper care and maintenance this build-up of bacteria can lead to decay between the restoration and the tooth. Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental care are still necessary to maintain good oral health and protect treatments rendered.



MYTH: Dental x-rays are dangerous.


Dental Facts: Dental x-rays are safe and pose minimal risk when used properly. In fact, modern digital x-rays are safer and use a low-level radiation, emitting less radiation than older technologies. Dentists follow strict guidelines to minimize exposure and ensure patient safety while acquiring dental imaging. To put this into perspective, ¹the radiation from a single dental x-ray is a mere 0.2 µSv, which is minimal compared to the radiation exposure from a flight from L.A. to N.Y.C., which is approximately 40 µSv. This means that dental x-rays are a safe effective tool for dentists to diagnose and treat oral health issues.



MYTH: You should brush your teeth after every meal.


Dental Fact: Brushing after every meal may not be necessary for everyone. In fact, it may be recommended to brush your teeth before eating to remove any loose plaque and bacteria. This helps prevent acid production and reduces the risk of enamel damage. Sugary and acidic foods weaken enamel, waiting at least 30 minutes to an hour after eating to brush your teeth allows the acidity from your food to neutralize. Not waiting means you may be brushing weaker enamel and may unknowingly be causing damage to your teeth.  



Remember, a healthy smile is within reach! By understanding the myths and misconceptions, you can take control of your oral health and achieve a smile that’s both healthy and beautiful. So, go ahead, take the leap, and start your journey towards a lifetime of optimal oral health.



Got a dental myth to debunk? Submit your myth to and we’ll add it to our list! Help us spread the truth about oral health and join the conversation by sharing your own dental myth-busting experiences!


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¹ Ozgur, D. J. (2021, August 23). How Much Radiation Do You Get from Dental X-rays? Toronto Smile Design.