There are many healthcare and dental myths out there, especially on the internet.  These myths can mislead people into making unhealthy decisions. Here is the truth behind six common dental myths. Did you believe any of these yourself?

Dental myth #1: Sugar causes cavities

Sugar is not good for the body or teeth in excess, but it does not actually cause tooth decay alone. It plays an important role in the process, however. Acid and oral bacteria cause cavities. Acid breaks down tooth enamel, and leaves teeth more susceptible to cavities. Sugar gives bad bacteria energy, which allows it to cause decay. The length of time sugar is on the teeth is the bigger concern, so always brush after eating extra sugary or sticky foods.

Dental myth #2: Baby teeth are not as important as adult teeth

Baby teeth, or primary teeth, have several jobs before adult teeth come in. These tiny teeth do fall out eventually, but they serve an important purpose. Baby teeth save space in the mouth for adult teeth and are important for properly chewing foods. They are also necessary for proper speech development.

Dental myth #3: Babies should never use a pacifier because it will mess up their teeth

The sucking reflex is natural for infants, as it provides comfort and security. Pacifier use is not likely to cause damage to your baby’s teeth within the first 20 months of age. However, since long-term pacifier use can lead to dental problems, dentists do recommended that parents try to wean kids from pacifiers by age two.

Dental myth #4: Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal is just as effective as brushing

Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. This is because increased salivary flow from chewing can help wash away acids and gum with xylitol can suppress bacteria. However, chewing sugar free gum is only a compliment to proper brushing a flossing, and not a replacement.  Brushing and flossing remove more food particles than gum.

Dental myth #5: Brushing is bad for bleeding gums

The leading cause of bleeding gums is plaque buildup along the gum line. When you do not remove plaque in a timely manner, it hardens into tartar and continues to irritate the gums. The best way to reduce plaque buildup is to increase your oral care routine, not to cut back. Dentists recommend holding your toothbrush so that the bristles are at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, with the bristles pointing toward your gums.  Floss daily because gums can sometimes stop bleeding with regular flossing.

Dental myth #6: The dentist will not notice that I do not brush regularly, as long as I brush really well before an appointment

When you do not brush or floss, bad bacteria in your mouth increase in numbers. This leads to hard-to-remove plaque and bleeding gums. Not following recommended brushing twice daily will make the gums red, swollen and bleed easily. This would be obvious to the dentist.