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Debunking 6 dental myths

There are many conflicting myths about how to provide the best dental care. Poor advice ranges from avoiding routine dental care to ignoring bleeding gums. Instead, we seek to debunk 6 of the most common dental myths and how to properly care for your smile.

When it comes to your health and well-being, there are many conflicting myths out there. Especially on the internet. And dentistry is certainly no exception. For example, some people claim diet soda is good for their teeth, or that bleeding after brushing is normal. To help you maintain good dental health, here are six common dental myths debunked.

Dental myth 1: You only go to the doctor when you’re sick. This means you only need to go to the dentist when you have a dental problem.

Some people only visit their physician when they have to, and this can be a problem. First of all, everyone should make it a habit to see their physician on a regular basis. Regular check-ups help with early detection of underlying health conditions that could potentially become catastrophic later on. This can not only help you avoid pain, but it can also help you save money in the long run.

Likewise, visiting your dentist on a regular basis can help catch cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues early. It’s typically recommended you visit your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and exam. At Infinite Smiles, Dr. Neal Patel checks the health of your teeth and gums with state-of-the-art equipment. This helps our talented, multi-disciplined team catch underlying issues even earlier than before. And this is very beneficial. After all, catching cavities and other oral health issues early can help make treatments cheaper and more effective.

A woman gets her teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist. Image for the debunking dental myths blog post
Going to your routine dental cleanings and exams helps with early detection and prevention of complex dental issues.

Dental myth 2: Bleeding after brushing and flossing just means you did those a bit too hard.

It is true to some extent that, if you brush and floss very aggressively, you might cut your gums. However, with a healthy mouth, that is generally very difficult to do. If you often see blood after you spit out your toothpaste or after flossing, it is more likely a symptom of gum disease. Proper oral hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist for your oral cleaning and exam can help prevent gum disease. But once you have it, if you don’t seek treatment, the disease can eventually weaken your jawbone and erode your gums. This makes it more likely to cause tooth decay. Or, your teeth can fall out, or we may need to surgically remove your teeth.

A woman holds her hand against her cheek in pain. Image for the debunking dental myths blog post
Bleeding gums could be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. Both of these should be monitored and treated by a trained dental professional to prevent tooth decay.

Dental myth 3: Teeth whitening isn’t healthy because it will damage your teeth.

Over time, your teeth slowly collect stains from the foods and drinks you consume. Some foods and drinks are more likely to stain your teeth than others. For example, coffee, food coloring, certain sauces, berries, and wine (Healthline, 2020). When you consume enough of these, your smile will eventually turn yellow and dark. To remove these stains, you can attempt to lighten your teeth with tooth whitening products.

There are plenty of effective tooth whitening products. And as long as they are well regulated, they are quite safe. Most often, people use whitening strips and toothpastes. But sometimes these methods can be too cumbersome or slow-to-act. In those cases, professional teeth whitening like we offer at Infinite Smiles can be the perfect solution.

Getting your teeth whitened by a professional is the safest and fastest way to whiten your teeth. No matter what, teeth whitening itself does not damage tooth enamel when done properly. However, discolored teeth can be an indicator that the enamel has been damaged or is eroding. Getting your teeth whitened at a dentist allows us to thoroughly examine your smile and let you know if there are any issues to address.

After whitening, some clients feel their teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold. Other times, irritation of the gums can occur. These are both natural responses to the whitening agents used, and typically goes away quickly. However, if you experience increased sensitivity or irritation that doesn’t go away, it may be an indicator of a separate underlying problem. Fortunately, the team at Infinite Smiles can help you with those issues if they persist.

A before-and-after showing a client before and after receiving tooth whitening. Image for the debunking dental myths blog post
Tooth whitening by a dental professional is safe when administered properly. It's also often used to help even out a smile when new crowns, bridges, veneers, or dental implants are placed.

Dental myth 4: Avoiding sugar will make sure you don’t get cavities.

Sugar on its own doesn’t directly cause cavities. Instead, cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth which feed on sugary and starchy foods and drinks. Over time, bacteria, acid, food, and saliva form plaque on the surface of teeth. And without proper oral hygiene, this plaque dissolves tooth enamel, creating cavities. (Cleveland Clinic, 2020)

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to avoid excess sugar and carbohydrates. However, diet alone is not enough to protect your teeth. In addition, proper oral hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist are the best ways to keep your teeth healthy.

A before-and-after showing the effects of tooth decay and the results of proper cleaning, dental veneers, and tooth whitening. Image for the debunking dental myths blog post
Tooth decay can happen to anyone. Teeth that are regularly exposed to highly acidic foods and drinks and sugar while not being properly cleaned are most at risk.

Dental myth 5: Diet sodas are healthy for your teeth because they don’t contain sugar.

Remember, it isn’t necessarily sugar itself that causes tooth decay. Instead, bacteria consume sugar from food and drink to grow. Additionally, while diet soda doesn’t contain sugar, they are still very acidic. The acids in regular soda and diet soda erode tooth enamel over time. Drinking diet soda is just as harmful to teeth as consuming other acidic foods and beverages.

Although diet soda can help reduce sugar intake, it is still less healthy than drinking water. If you do drink diet soda, remember to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water afterward. This will help wash away the built-up acid.

A woman drinks a bottled soda outdoors. Image for the debunking dental myths blog post
Diet soda is not healthier for your teeth becasue it contains less sugar. Instead, it's harmful because it's the acid in soda that does the most harm to your teeth.

Dental myth 6: You always need to brush right after you eat to keep your teeth healthy.

It’s true that brushing and flossing are some of your best defenses for keeping your smile healthy. However, being overly aggressive with your routine can harm your teeth. Highly acidic foods like wine, tomatoes, vinegar, and more weaken tooth enamel. After eating these foods, their acids coat your teeth, and brushing right after eating can push those acids deeper into the enamel. This consequently makes the damage they do worse.

Right after consuming highly acidic food and drink, it’s best to rinse thoroughly with plain water. This helps wash away the acid. Alternatively, you could wait about 30 minutes after eating for your saliva to wash the acids away. Ensuring the acid is neutralized before brushing and flossing is a great way to keep your enamel as strong as it can be.

A woman brushes her teeth up close to the camera. Image for the debunking dental myths blog post
Brushing your teeth directly after eating highly acidic foods can grind those acids deeper into the enamel. It's better to rinse your mouth with water and wait 30 minutes before brushing.

Schedule your appointment to maintain a healthy smile

It isn’t always easy determining truth from myth. Remember that staying informed and keeping healthy habits are your best line of defense for staying healthy. If you have questions regarding your dental healthcare, call our Powell, Ohio office at 740.881.2600. Or, schedule your dental appointment with us over the phone or online, anytime. We look forward to helping you keep your smile bright and healthy.


  1. Lindberg, S. (2020, December 11). Foods that stain teeth: 9 tooth-staining foods and drinks. Healthline. Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://healthline.com/health/foods-that-stain-teeth.
  2. Cavities: Tooth decay, toothache, causes, prevention & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (2020, September 14). Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10946-cavities.

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