When it comes to first impressions – one of the first things people notice is our smile! This World Smile Day (October 4), Caredent is urging people to take better care of their pearly whites – busting some common myths when it comes to dental care.
Brushing with a firm bristle toothbrush is best
FICTION: A soft bristled toothbrush is recommended to not damage the teeth's enamel.
Dark chocolate is good for our teeth (in moderation, of course!)
FACT: This may be surprising, but chocolate which has at least 70% cacao - contains a compound called CBH, which has been shown to help harden tooth enamel.
How you brush is more important than how often
FACT: Technique is vital when it comes to brushing – ensure you're brushing for at least two minutes in a circular motion.
Flossing is just as important as brushing
FACT: Brushing alone isn't effective. Given there are places which are difficult to reach with a toothbrush, it's important to floss as regularly as you brush.
Only sugar causes cavities
FICTION: While sugar certainly isn't good for our teeth, it isn't the only culprit. Foods that are highly acidic or sticky leave teeth vulnerable to cavities.
Children can get cavities on their baby teeth
FACT: Milk teeth contain enamel and can get cavities. This makes it important for kids to develop good brushing habits while they are young.
Eating cheese helps prevent tooth decay
TRUE: Eating cheese at the end of a meal can help prevent tooth decay. It stimulates saliva flow which acts a natural acid buffer by neutralising the acids formed during mealtimes.
Tap water is better for our teeth than bottled water
FACT: Most tap water in Australia contains fluoride which is necessary for health teeth, however many types of bottled water don't contain optimal levels of fluoride.
Dental treatment while pregnant isn't recommended
FICTION: Visiting the dentist while pregnant is highly recommend, and routine dental procedures (cleaning, cavity fillings etc) are safe while pregnant.
Good oral health is important for overall health
FACT: Poor dental care not only affects the teeth and gums, but research shows links to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Question: How does eating cheese help prevent tooth decay?
Alistair Graham: Cheese is great for your teeth. Not only does it have high levels of phosphate and calcium, which naturally strengthen teeth and bones, but it also helps balance the pH level in your mouth, which means less harmful acid, more cleansing saliva and fewer cavities.
Question: What other foods stimulate saliva flow?
Alistair Graham: After a meal, chewing sugar free chewing gum helps stimulate saliva flow, and this is a very good way to neutralise the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth and to bring the pH back to neutral.
Question: Can you tell if a patient uses an electric toothbrush, or not?
Alistair Graham: Most of the time, yes! Electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and stains on your teeth, especially in those hard to reach spots. Put another way, we can tell the difference when a regular patient switches from a manual brush to an electric brush!
Question: What other common teeth myths do you enjoy debunking?
Alistair Graham: When pregnant, your baby is not taking away all of your calcium and making your teeth weak. Also, non-fluoridated 'natural' toothpastes do nothing to help protect your teeth. We would always recommend your save your money on those expensive pastes and use a normal fluoridated toothpaste.
Question: Can you share your top tips to protect our pearly whites?
Alistair Graham: Visiting a dental hygienist every 6 months is crucial. They do an amazing job cleaning off all of the plaque and stains and do it so gently.
Question: What message do you hope to spread ahead of World Smile Day?
Alistair Graham: We want to encourage people to take greater care of their oral health, and help them feel confident to smile more often!
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash