It’s important to understand your teeth. That means getting accurate information and not adding to the divide of misinformation. How exactly do you know what is true and what isn’t? We’ll go over some of the most popular tooth myths and shed light on the honest truth.
Debunking Common Tooth Myths
1. Tooth dissolving in Coke
This might be the most popular of tooth myths—the tooth dissolved in coke myth. Many people believe this to be true due to a bold exaggeration that happened a long time ago. Clive McCay, a Cornell University professor, wanted to educate the world about the acidic, tooth-decaying elements of Coca-Cola.
McCay, in front of Congress, claimed that Coke could not only eat through a tooth within several days, but that it could also eat through the steps of the Capitol building.
Although Coca-Cola and other similar sodas contain three types of acid known for causing tooth decay (phosphoric, citric, and carbonic acid), it couldn’t eat all the way through a tooth in any reasonable amount of time—nor could it eat through anything very quickly at all. In fact, relatively speaking, soda isn’t all that acidic when compared to orange juice or coffee, more commonly consumed morning drinks.
However, that is still relative, considering soda is still a leading cause in tooth decay. It’s all about minimizing consumption.
2. The tooth fairy origins
The tooth fairy is as old as Santa Claus, leprechauns, and the Easter Bunny, right? It would make perfect sense, since fairies have been a staple of ancient myths. This idea, however, is exactly that—a myth.
While it’s not completely clear where the tooth fairy came from, it can be traced no further than 20th century America. In fact, the idea of a small fairy creature with wings is the newest incarnation of this mythical creature.
The earliest forms of this concept involved burying children’s teeth for good look—a Viking tradition. In France, La Bonne Petite Souris was a story about a mouse who stole the king’s teeth to save the queen. Strangely enough, this is the closest tradition we can find to our own belief of a tooth fairy.
3. Wisdom teeth have no point
It’s true that wisdom teeth no longer serve a purpose, but what people don’t always realize is that they once were an important part of our diet. A long time ago, we ate rather rough food that involved heavy grinding and breaking down of our teeth. This eventually lead to the eventual need for a new set of teeth. Hence, our third set of molars.
However, evolution can be a tricky thing, as one thing develops and we lose something else. In other words, as our brains got larger, our jaws got smaller.
At the same time, our diets have changed (in an evolutionary standpoint) rather recently. Eating coarse food is no longer a necessity, and we’ve found much more suitable foods. So, it isn’t that they never served a purpose, we just don’t use them anymore.
They can also cause severe problems if they don’t grow in correctly.
4. Bleaching makes your teeth weak
Although excessive bleaching isn’t recommended, the only thing an acceptable bleaching treatment can do is strip a tooth of pigment over time. In severe cases, using bleaching trays can lead to some enamel loss, reaching two nanometers.
However, this says nothing about the structure or strength of the teeth themselves. Your teeth and gums may experience increased sensitivity and slight discomfort, but that isn’t permanent. In any case, tooth enamel has been shown to re-strengthen itself over time.
5. Baby teeth aren’t important
One of the most common tooth myths comes from the simple fact that children eventually lose their baby teeth. While this is true, it’s important to remember that baby teeth are still very important.
Think of baby teeth as the training wheels for the mouth. They teach your baby to eat, bite, and speak normally. If anything impedes these functions, your child will have problems later on in life. In extreme cases, if you don’t take care of your baby’s teeth and they fall out, it can lead to premature bone loss.
Most importantly, like other tooth myths, this one can seriously harm someone as it’s important to maintain proper nutrition for your overall health.
6. Adult teeth are gone forever
It may be less of an issue when baby teeth are lost, considering there’s a whole row of adult teeth waiting to grow right below them, but can adult teeth be saved?
The answer is yes, most of the time. If your tooth gets knocked out, it isn’t the end of that tooth. In fact, without resorting to tooth implantation, you can get your tooth put back in.
It’s important, though, as soon as you lose your tooth to take the necessary steps to save that tooth. First, you must gently rinse the tooth off, preferably with saline solution. Don’t wash it too hard, as it could damage the tooth. The crown is the only place on the tooth you should handle it, since the roots are very vulnerable. Try placing the tooth in a glass of milk while you wait for the dentist to put it back in. This allows calcium and other positive nutrients to flow into the tooth, maintaining it.
As soon as you lose an adult tooth, it’s considered an emergency, so go to the nearest dentist office to have them put it back in. Of course, if the tooth is not salvageable, your dentist at Balle and Associates can always rejuvenate your smile with dental crowns or dental implants.
7. There’s no such thing as brushing too much
Out of all the tooth myths, this one may be the biggest surprise in how damaging it can be. When it comes to brushing your teeth, the more isn’t necessarily the merrier.
Dentists recommend you brush twice a day. That’s it. Simple enough to remember.
Yet, many people believe that you should brush after every time you eat. It may seem proactive and beneficial to get rid of food particles thoroughly as soon as you’re done eating. What many people don’t realize is that your teeth are stronger than you’d think. You can wait until nighttime to get rid of any left overs.
It’s also worth mentioning that even though your teeth enamel is the strongest tissue in your body, you shouldn’t underestimate the powerful cleaning capabilities of your acidic saliva. Yes, your saliva is not only acidic, but it’s vital in maintaining a healthy mouth.
During this time of self-cleaning, your enamel becomes soft, so brushing right after you eat can significantly weaken your teeth. So, if you have a late dinner, wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing.
Get the Truth about Teeth from Balle and Associates
With all these debunked myths about the mouth, the honest truth is that your dental health is important. Balle and Associates will give you the care that you deserve, which also means you’ll get the honest facts about what is going on with your oral health. Schedule your appointment with us today.
Balle & Associates is staffed by the most skilled and experienced general dentists in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr. Peter Balle and Dr. Tate Guild use a personalized approach to get to know patients and offer them services specific to their needs.