Sunday, January 5, 2014

Four Dental Health Myths You Can Put to Bed

Many health myths are so engrained in to our minds we don't think twice about them. Some are harmless- for instance, you don't really need to wait an hour after eating to go swimming, but it doesn't hurt you to wait- while some can actually cause harm. Here are a few commonly held beliefs about dental health, and the reasons why you may want to reconsider them.

You should always brush your teeth after a meal.

You should brush after a meal- but not right away, especially if you've consumed acidic or sugary foods like wine or dessert. Many foods can actually cause your enamel, the tough outer layer of your teeth, to temporarily weaken or soften. An immediate brushing can do more harm than good by scratching softened enamel and giving bacteria a chance to burrow deeper in to your teeth. The 'buffing' effect of your toothbrush bristles can also make it much easier for stains to penetrate and attach themselves to teeth. Ideally, give your mouth a good rinsing with water after a meal, then wait about 30 minutes before brushing to give your enamel a chance to strengthen itself.

Chewing gum will rot your teeth.

If you're chewing the sugary stuff, it can certainly harm your dental health- but sugar-free gum can actually be helpful in preventing stains, decay and/or gum disease, especially when chewed after a meal. Chewing gum helps stimulate your saliva glands, and saliva is your body's natural defense against stains and decay-causing bacteria. Increased saliva flow after eating will help to rinse away any debris or small particles remaining from your meal. Some brands of gum have actually proven effective enough at fighting cavities, gum disease and/or other dental issues that they have been stamped with the ADA seal of approval.

Fruit juice is a healthier alternative to soda.

You'd think that anything with 'fruit' in the name would have more health benefits than soda, but a more appropriate name for many 'juices' on the market today would be 'fruit flavored beverage.' Many contain very little real fruit juice, and the sugar content is almost as high as that of soda; an eight-ounce glass of typical grocery store orange juice contains about eight teaspoons of sugar, while a typical can of soda contains around ten. What's more, both of these beverages contain processed sugars as opposed to the natural sugars found in actual fruit. A substance also found in soft drinks called citric acid gives many fruit juices their tangy or citrus flavor; acid is extremely harmful to teeth and is a key culprit in the destruction of protective enamel. Look to real, whole fruits to get your daily serving of nutrients, and stick to water to quench your thirst.

Electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones.

As long as you're brushing for the proper amount of time and with good technique, you can get a satisfactory cleaning from either a manual or an electric toothbrush. When it comes to cost and practicality, the good old manual toothbrush beats out the electric every time- it's cheaper, more portable and can be used anywhere. However, for adults who have dexterity problems resulting from arthritis or old age, an electric toothbrush may be easier to use than a manual brush. More important than the electric vs. manual argument is knowing how to maintain your toothbrush and when to replace it- always rinse it thoroughly after use, and replace your brush every couple of months, or when the bristles begin to look frayed.

A healthy lifestyle enthusiast, F.R. writes about keeping our bodies and oral health in prime condition. Look for similar topics from a top Arlington dentist - team dentist for the Texas Rangers. His specialty is creating beautiful, healthy smiles using stress-free care in a comfortable environment, so consider visiting this dentist in Arlington, Texas.
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