Here at Epic Dental, we’re all about what works, even if it means going against the grain.
One thing we’re learned is that conventional wisdom is often more convention than wisdom. That goes for oral health, too.
So to help you get the oral health results you deserve, we think it’s time to take a deep dive into the most pervasive oral health myths out there, helping you sort out what’s real from what’s not.
Myth #1: Sugar is the Big Bad
Most of us grew up being told their entire life that too much sugar will cause your teeth to rot and fall out of your head. For obvious reasons, that’s the kind of “wisdom” that very few of us are willing to test ourselves.
However, here’s the truth that might, if you spin it right, help you in your quest to reclaim a decade’s worth of lost Halloween candy: sugar doesn’t cause cavities.
Now, there is some truth to the myth. Sugar is just one of a whole category of what dentists call “fermentable carbohydrates.” That’s just a fancy way of saying that these carbs, if left unattended in your mouth, can be converted into tooth-dissolving acid by certain strains of oral bacteria.
Sugar isn’t going to deal damage to your teeth all by itself, but when helped along by these nefarious bacterial baddies, sugar can be turned into acid that contributes to cavities. However, with careful and proper management of cavity-causing bacteria, sugar poses less of a threat to your smile than Wile E. Coyote does to the Road Runner.
Myth #2: Scapegoats
Cavity shame is a real thing. If you need proof, just think about how you felt the last time your dentist diagnosed a cavity. When all that guilt and shame starts to pile on, it can be pretty convenient to start looking around for someone else to blame.
Now, the truth is that your cavities probably aren’t your fault, but that doesn’t mean the most common excuses are accurate.
You may have heard people say that they have bad teeth due to genetics, or that their family “just has soft teeth.” Now, there is a real genetic condition called “ amelogenesis imperfecta” that can cause teeth to form improperly, but it’s extremely rare, afflicting only 1 in every 14,000 people. For the remaining 13,999 of us, we probably just need to step up our oral health game a little bit.
Be careful about scapegoating from the other side, too. If you’re brushing and flossing regularly and still plagued with cavities, the odds are pretty good that you haven’t been handed the right information or tools for the job.
Myth #3: Brushing and Flossing Prevent Cavities
Yep, this one’s a doozy.
Let me be clear: brushing your teeth and flossing are important for your oral health, and you should absolutely keep doing it.
However, if brushing was really the end-all cavity preventer that people say, then why do you still get cavities?
The science here gets a little complicated, but I’m going to try to keep it simple.
Your toothbrush is great at getting rid of plaque, but plaque isn’t the cause of cavities so much as the habitat that the cavity-causing critters hang out in.
The real cause of cavities is acid, which slowly dissolves the bonds between minerals in your teeth. This acid comes from two primary sources: what you eat and drink, and the oral bacteria that live in your mouth.
Unfortunately, your toothbrush isn’t really equipped to deal with acid. This means that even if you’re the best brusher in town, you might still end up with more cavities than anyone, depending on what bacteria you’re housing or what you eat.
The good news is that it’s actually pretty easy to deal with tooth-dissolving acid. You want to 1) neutralize acid as quickly as possible after exposure, and 2) deal with acid-producing bacteria in your mouth.
We obviously have some skin in the game, but we recommend Epic Gum & Mints as the perfect one-two punch to buffer against acid attacks and strike back at your icky oral invaders. Epic Gum & Mints are stuffed to bursting with all-natural xylitol, the sweetener that’s proven to target and remove acid-generating bacteria from your mouth. What’s more, popping a couple pieces of Epic Gum or Mints right after meals gets your body’s natural defenses against acid ramped up and running far more quickly than without.
So Now You Know
The first and most effective tool in any toolbox is having correct information. Now that we’ve separated fact from fiction, you’re well-equipped to take control of your oral health.