Dental anxiety is something that many people suffer from. The thought of seeing a dentist for even the most routine procedures can cause panic in a lot of people. That stress and fear has unleashed a tremendous amount of dental myths to mollify dental woes.

Many of these myths have been spread like wildfire by word of mouth in our culture, so it’s often hard to tell what is fact and what is fiction. One thing that is the true, is that buying into these myths is putting your oral health at risk. People who believe in these are more apt to avoid proper dental care. It’s time to seek the truth about dental care myths and debunk them once and for all.

Myth #1 – BLEACHING YOUR TEETH IS DANGEROUS

Incorrect: The advanced technology that the dental world has access to today makes bleaching your teeth safe and with faster results. Past materials used to bleach teeth were acidic and caused the enamel to break down. Today the materials used for teeth bleaching are PH neutral and cause no damage to the tooth or enamel. Bleaching your teeth is simply oxidizing the enamel using carbamide peroxide. This causes the light to refract off of your teeth creating a whiter and brighter look. Be warned about high concentration bleaches, using them for prolonged periods of time can traumatize and shock the tooth. A little goes a long way.

Myth #2 – WHITER TEETH ARE HEALTHIER TEETH

Incorrect: Just because you are flashing some pearly whites, doesn’t mean that they are not hiding infection or cavities. Although the do show a sign of someone who wants to take care of their teeth, and often those with whiter teeth do have healthier mouths, there are many oral health problems that can be lurking along the gumline.

Myth #3 – THE MORE SUGAR YOU EAT, THE WORSE OFF YOUR TEETH

Perhaps: This one can come down to the fact that yes, sugar is bad for your teeth, but that is not what is actually hurting them. Sugar does cause bacteria to survive in the mouth, but with poor oral hygiene, you will experience the same decay. Processed sugars tend to cause a higher level of tooth decay.

Make sure you are brushing and flossing after eating sweet foods. This will help stop sugar from getting stuck in between your teeth, speeding up the decaying process. But overall, it’s not the sugar that is necessarily bad for you, it’s the oral hygiene habits that go along with sugar consumption.

Myth #4 – FLOSSING IS NOT IMPORTANT

Incorrect: There are plenty of nooks and crannies between your teeth and within the gum line that a toothbrush just can’t reach. Adding flossing to your daily routine can help combat gum disease and tooth decay. People who floss before they brush are more likely to get food particles out of those hard to reach places and avoid periodontal disease.

Myth #5 – PLACING AN ASPIRIN NEXT TO A TOOTH WILL ALLEVIATE PAIN

Not Quite: Aspirin was developed to work within the bloodstream. When pain comes from within the tooth structure, aspirin would have to penetrate the tooths enamel in order to eliminate the pain that comes from the nerve. This is why ingesting aspirin is way more effective than placing it in your mouth on the tooth that is sore. Overuse of aspirin or oral gels can also lead to burn symptoms of the gums, so use sparingly.

Myth #6 – BRUSHING YOUR BLEEDING GUMS IS BAD

Incorrect: Brushing is not just to give you pearly whites, brushing is good for your gums and tongue as well. Inflammation is caused by plaque buildup around the gum line, which eventually turns into periodontal disease. This is what causes the gums to bleed. However, regular brushing and flossing can help to remove it. Brushing your teeth at an angle, using a circular motion, will help to keep the tissue healthy.

With all the crazy information in the world about what is true or false when it comes to your dental hygiene, these 6 myths are among the biggest out there. If you are taking care of your oral health by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and regular dental visits, you should have great oral health for years to come.