Myths about our tooth

It can be hard to dispel a myth. Sometimes advice sounds reasonable, or we are so used to an idea because we have heard it all our life. But occasionally the truth shows that some beliefs are myths.

Only sugar causes tooth decay

Sugar is definitely bad for teeth and general health, and we tend to eat far too much of the sweet stuff. But any starchy foods can cause the same type of decay problems. And anything acidic, like lemon or fruit juice, is almost as bad.

The bacteria in our mouths turn all sorts of food into decay causing acid. Sugar and starch are the worst of the lot.

We should brush our teeth straight after eating and drinking

This was thought to be true until research showed that many foods and drinks would weaken the tooth enamel. This means that the brushing would wear the tooth away! The teeth became sensitive as the enamel became thin.

Wait 30 minutes after meals before brushing your teeth. In the meantime, it helps to drink water or chew gum.

Diet drinks are a healthier option

Most diet drinks are still acidic, so they will damage teeth pretty badly. And at least some artificial sweeteners are bad for health.

Only teenagers wear braces

There are adults who straighten their teeth with braces, or perhaps Invisalign. It is just as effective.
The advantage of using braces as a teenager is that your teeth will be straight by the time you are an adult, so you can enjoy them for the rest of your life.

Bottled water is best

Water is definitely healthy. It cleans teeth and keeps us healthy. But bottled water has one small disadvantage is not containing fluoride. The fluoride in tap water helps reduce tooth decay. If the local water supply is good (as it is in Sydney) then tap water is a good reliable option.

Women lose a tooth each time they have a child

This is not literally true, but there is a certain poetic truth in this. Pregnancy does strain health. So in older generations, many women tended to lose teeth for this reason. But modern dental care can largely prevent this.

Well-aligned teeth are just for aesthetic value

A neat appearance tends to go with good functionality. Neatly aligned teeth will make chewing and speaking easier and tend to be free from jaw pain. They are almost always easier to clean.

Baby teeth are expendable

Decay in a baby tooth increases the risk of problems in the permanent teeth. Keep the baby’s teeth healthy.


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