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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and a News Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently a journalism student at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Bite on This: 5 Common Oral Health Myths

{Image Credit: Getty Images}

{Image Credit: Getty Images}

Although modern dentistry has come a long way, it’s still really hard to find someone who genuinely enjoys visiting the dentist. While it’s safe to assume that a lot of people dread sitting in a reclining chair under bright lights with their mouth wide open — 12 percent of U.S. adults, to be exact — a visit to the dentist’s office is essential as our teeth can speak volumes of our overall health.

There’s a lot more to that right smile than you think! And sure, lollipops, floss and electric toothbrushes are great gifts to end off a visit, but never enough to ease the stress that surrounds the copious dental myths that plague our anxieties.

Whether you have a sweet tooth or just want to have good oral hygiene, we debunk some heinous dental health myths that will have you smiling — and not crying — on your way out of that next dentist trip.

Brush teeth immediately after eating

It depends. Certain foods and drinks high in carbohydrates and sugars can stem the creation of specific bacteria in your mouth approximately 20 minutes after you eat a meal or snack, so Colgate suggests to brush immediately after before bacteria attach tooth enamel. But it should be noted that sometimes brushing your teeth promptly after can affect tooth enamel. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you’ve eaten something acidic, avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes. It is stated that brushing too soon can damage enamel in its weakened state.

Flossing isn’t important

False. Flossing is important. When you floss, you break up plaque bacterial biofilm on teeth. According to First Choice Dental, when it stays on your teeth, it colonizes and changes the chemistry, allowing pathogens to survive and putting your mouth at risk of infection. Additionally, this leaves you at the risk of gum infection, like gingivitis, which leads to gum disease (periodontitis) and eventually tooth loss. If you floss, not only are you reducing plaque, you are freshening your breath.

Removing wisdom teeth reduces crowding

False. Though not frequent, there are actually a few cases when wisdom teeth cause crowding of the teeth. In many cases, dentists recommend to keep them in because they don’t cause conflicts, so removing them will not solve the crowding problem or re-straighten the teeth. That said, if pain or discomfort is felt with emerging wisdom teeth or they are becoming hard to clean, it might be time to consult your dentist.

Dental work can cause cold sores

Yes. While the dentist’s office is usually regarded as a safe and sterile place, there are occasions when things can go awry, especially when your dentist doesn’t take proper precautions to protect their patients against HSV-1. According to Colgate, dental procedures that tend to stretch the lip may occasionally trigger the virus to become active. The borderline of the lip is by far the most common place for these sores to appear, but may occasionally erupt inside the mouth, particularly in patients with compromised immune systems or those debilitated by other medical disorders.

Bleaching weakens enamel

False. With drugstore shelves offering the very best in whiter, cleaner looking teeth from pastes to strips, some fear using bleaching products can be harmful to enamel and weaken teeth. But there isn’t much to fear here. Bleaching products are often harmless if used according to directions because they only affect the color of teeth, not the strength of overall health. While bleaching removes the teeth’s natural pigmentation, remove too much and your teeth could be translucent. This means, that “tissue test” you see in commercials is not a good example to follow. Excessive bleaching can also include temporary tooth sensitivity and irritated gums, according to TODAY Health.

 

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