Every few years a new study comes out that seemingly contradicts what was previously reported on an array of health topics. So, when it comes to dental health, how can one decipher the truth from a simple mouth myth?
Check out what trusted and well-respected dental organizations have to say about three common mouth myths.
Myth #1: You should brush your teeth after every meal.
False. Exposure to acidic food and drinks during meals can soften tooth enamel and brushing right after the consumption of these types of food and drinks can increase the chance of enamel erosion. Instead, consider washing your mouth out with water or chewing on a piece of sugar-free gum after a meal. According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugar-free gum increases the flow of saliva in the mouth which helps wash away food and other debris from the teeth while neutralizing acids. Clinical studies have shown chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following a meal can help prevent tooth decay.
Myth #2: Dental X-rays expose you to radiation
True. Dental X-rays expose patients to radiation, but a very low level. According to The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, we are all exposed to small amounts of radiation on a daily basis from the sun, air, water, rocks and soil, which is known as background radiation. The amount of radiation a child gets during an x-ray exam is comparable to the amount of background radiation a person gets daily. That said, major national and international organizations responsible for evaluating the risks associated with radiation agree, that in order to be safe, we should act as if low doses of radiation could cause harm. According to the American Dental Association, dentists are to follow the ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) Principle to minimize exposure, which includes practices such as limiting the number of images to the minimum that is necessary; using proper film exposure, processing techniques and up-to-date equipment; and using protective aprons and thyroid collars as appropriate.
Myth #3: Bleaching can weaken your teeth.
False. According to the American Dental Association, the most common side effects of bleaching agents are tooth sensitivity and occasional irritation of the soft tissue in the mouth. However, these are typically temporary and cease after treatment. It is recommended that you consult with your dentist before using any bleaching product and be cautioned that sufficient information is not currently available to support unsupervised long-term or repeated use of bleaching products.
Resources: American Dental Association and The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging