Are white teeth healthier? 9 Dental Myths Busted by the Experts
By Buttercup 7 Day Dental 10th Jan 2017
Are white teeth healthier? As dentists we hear a tonne of half truths, whole lies and crazy myths about teeth every single day.
To help separate the fact from the fiction, we’ve collected nine of our favourite myths and put them under the microscope.
Hopefully, this blog helps shine a little more light on the dental world and separates the fact from the fiction.
If we missed out any extra glaring myths, let us know about them in the comments!
Myth #1: Brits have terrible teeth
Let’s kick things off with what is probably the most widely believed myths: Brits have bad teeth.
We’ve all heard the jokes on American TV shows and when confronted with the perfect rows of pearly whites of small screen actors, it’s easy to believe that it’s true.
Well, it turns out that teeth in the UK are actually healthier than those in the US.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), over 90 percent of Americans have tooth decay. Compared to just 28 percent of Brits, it’s clear whose teeth are healthier!
It get’s better, too!
Brits even visit the dentist more. When asked, about 70 percent of Brits said they had visited the dentist in the past year. Only 40 percent of Americans said the same.
Time to take some pride in our cavity-free teeth, I think!
Myth #2: Whiter teeth are healthier
While bright, pearly whites might look healthier, there’s no reason to think that white teeth are healthier.
Natural tooth colour is super variable so someone could just as easily have healthy dark teeth as unhealthy white teeth.
Myth #3: Only sugary snacks are bad for teeth
Super sugary soft drinks, cakes and sweets are all bad for your teeth but it’s not just the obviously sugary stuff that can cause problems.
Low-fat foods, fruit juices, dried fruit, coffee, sports drinks, canned soups and other secretly sugary are all just as bad.
We actually wrote a blog post on this last month, check it out here: 6 of the Most Secretly Sugary Snacks.
I recommend you check the nutritional info panel on packets to find out how much sugar is actually in each piece of food and try to limit the amount of super sugary stuff you consume.
Myth #4: You don’t need to brush baby teeth
I understand the rationale behind this myth. Baby teeth will fall out so what’s the point of brushing them?
Well, it’s not just to do with the health of your child’s baby teeth.
Starting good brushing habits nice and early sets a good precedent going forward. If you brush your teeth properly when you’re three, you’ll probably brush your teeth properly when you’re thirty-three.
Myth #5: Flossing isn’t important
Wait, not that type of floss!
When people think about oral hygiene, they think about brushing, brushing and more brushing. Flossing, on the other hand, is relegated to a much lower tier with non-essential stuff like cleaning behind your ears and trimming nose hair.
That’s really unfair.
While brushing can help clean the surface of your teeth, the bristles will struggle to work their way in between your teeth.
Flossing cleans approximately one-third of your tooth surface, which normal brushing simply can’t reach. Pretty incredible, right?
Myth #6: No one uses NHS dentists anymore
The dental industry is a weird chunk of the healthcare sector as we’re partially covered by the NHS and partially private. Because most dentists offer private services a lot of people think that the whole industry is private.
Well, it’s not.
Many outstanding dental practices in Glasgow serve NHS patients and will probably continue to do so long into the future.
At Buttercup, we’re proud to offer both NHS and private dentistry to our patients and will support you no matter what your requirements.
Myth #7: Dental X-rays are dangerous
While it’s probably a good idea to avoid unnecessary exposure to x-rays, the occasional dental x-ray isn’t dangerous.
Considering you receive 3,100µSv of radiation from natural sources every year, an extra 34.9 to 170.7µSv from a full mouth x-ray probably won’t make much of a difference.
Also, here’s a fun radiation fact: One dental x-ray is roughly the equivalent of eating 50 bananas!
Myth #8: I’m too old for braces
Yes, a lot of people get braces when they’re young but many adults also invest in braces to straighten their teeth, too.
And age has no impact on a dentist’s ability to move your teeth so whether you’re five or fifty-five, braces can help fix a range of dental issues.
Myth #9: No pain means the dentist is unnecessary
Okay, I know I said the whole Brits have bad teeth myth was the most popular but I’m changing my mind.
So often we have new patients come in to see us after a five or ten-year dentist-free break. Why did they wait so long?
Because they weren’t experiencing any pain.
By the time their pain has forced them to come and see us, the underlying problem has probably gotten quite bad.
Instead of catching the issues nice and early, we now have to deal with a serious dental problem.
When your dentist asks you to make a follow-up appointment or schedule your next checkup, they aren’t just trying to make money. They’re trying to keep your teeth healthy!