Doctor Plotka's Blog

03 Jun 2024

Dr. Plotka's is Busting Common Oral Hygiene Myths

At Dr. Plotka’s, we often encounter a variety of misconceptions about oral hygiene. These myths can lead to poor dental practices and unnecessary anxiety about dental care. Let’s debunk some of the most common myths and provide you with the facts to ensure your smile stays healthy and bright.

1. Myth: Brush harder to get cleaner teeth.
Fact: Brushing harder doesn’t mean brushing better. In fact, vigorous brushing can damage your enamel and gums, leading to sensitivity and receding gums. The best way to brush is to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, circular motions. This technique effectively removes plaque without causing harm to your teeth and gums.

2. Myth: Avoid brushing if you have bleeding gums.
Fact: Bleeding gums are often a sign of gum inflammation or gingivitis caused by plaque buildup. Instead of avoiding brushing, you should continue to brush and floss regularly to remove the plaque. If the bleeding persists, it's important to visit your dentist for a professional evaluation and treatment plan to prevent further gum disease.

3. Myth: Flossing is not important.
Fact: Flossing is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth and below the gumline, areas that your toothbrush cannot reach. Without flossing, plaque can build up, leading to cavities and gum disease. Make flossing a daily habit to ensure complete oral hygiene.

4. Myth: Dental cleaning removes the upper layer of teeth (tooth enamel).
Fact: Dental cleanings do not remove enamel. The process, known as scaling, removes plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. This procedure does not affect the enamel but helps in maintaining oral health by preventing gum disease and cavities. Professional cleanings are a key part of dental care, ensuring your teeth stay healthy and strong.

5. Myth: Dental cleaning leads to tooth sensitivity.
Fact: Temporary sensitivity after a dental cleaning is common but usually mild and short-lived. It occurs because the removal of tartar can expose areas of your teeth that were previously covered. This sensitivity typically resolves within a few days. Using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help alleviate any discomfort.

6. Myth: Scaling loosens the teeth.
Fact: Scaling does not loosen teeth. Teeth can feel slightly mobile if they have been surrounded by heavy tartar for a long time, but scaling helps remove this buildup and prevents gum disease. Regular scaling and professional cleanings help keep your teeth and gums healthy, reducing the risk of tooth mobility caused by advanced periodontal disease.

7. Myth: Tooth extraction from the upper jaw affects eyesight.
Fact: There is no connection between extracting a tooth from the upper jaw and affecting eyesight. The nerves and blood vessels that serve your teeth are entirely separate from those connected to your eyes. Tooth extraction, even from the upper jaw, does not impact your vision in any way.

8. Myth: An infant’s mouth doesn’t need cleaning since they don’t have teeth.
Fact: Cleaning an infant’s mouth is important even before teeth appear.** Using a damp gauze or a soft cloth to gently wipe the gums after feedings can help remove bacteria and prevent infections. This practice sets the stage for good oral hygiene as teeth begin to emerge.

9. Myth: Brushing is not necessary for toddlers until they are 4 or 5 years old.
Fact: Brushing should begin as soon as a child's first tooth appears. Early dental care helps prevent cavities and promotes a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits. Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste to clean your child's teeth. Establishing these habits early can prevent tooth decay and promote a healthy smile.

10. Myth: Mouthwash can replace brushing.
Fact: Mouthwash is a useful addition to your oral hygiene routine but cannot replace brushing and flossing. While mouthwash can help reduce bacteria and freshen breath, it does not remove plaque and food particles from your teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing are essential for thorough cleaning and maintaining oral health.

Dental treatments and proper oral hygiene practices are essential for maintaining a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile. By debunking these common myths, we hope to alleviate any fears and encourage better dental care practices. Regular check-ups and cleanings at Dr. Plotka’s can help keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition. Remember, informed patients are empowered patients—let’s work together to keep your smile healthy and bright!