We tapped Dr. Cary Goldstein of Goldstein Dental Center to debunk some longtime myths about caring for your teeth.
Myth: You don’t actually need to go to the dentist every six months.
True—don’t come if you don’t mind having problems and spending a boatload of money to fix them! We suggest every six months because most people do not do the F-word daily: floss! When not flossing we develop ‘barnacles’ under the gums that are tightly bonded to the teeth, much like barnacles adhere to the bottom of a boat that is never cleaned. These barnacles cause gum disease and loss of bone and gums, and end in a smile that ages you. So the real answer is yes, see your dentist twice a year, and have your hygienist remove those nasty things.
Myth: Flossing isn’t actually important.
False. Flossing is essential. Bacteria, food particles and debris collect between the teeth daily. If these are not properly removed, decay starts. Bacteria between the teeth cause decay because they eat the leftover pieces of food between the teeth and excrete acids. The acid eats away at the tooth and hence decay sets in. The bacteria and food particles also cause bad breath. So, don’t floss only if you want to keep people away from you.
Myth: Drugstore whitening strips are as effective as in-office bleaching treatments.
False. This is like comparing a Big Mac to a gourmet restaurant’s wagyu beef burger. Strips work slowly, very slowly, to bleach teeth, often up to eight weeks, and you need to wear the strips daily or every other day to get results. Three in-office treatments in a week and a half will significantly whiten your teeth, especially if they are just slightly yellow. The darker yellow, brown and gray colors in teeth are the hardest to remove, but with three weeks and six in-office treatments, you will see whiter teeth and your friends will notice a new sparkle in you!
Myth: Gums bleeding while flossing or brushing is normal.
False. Healthy gums rarely bleed. Bleeding is a sign of infection often due to poor brushing and flossing techniques. As we said earlier, the combo of brushing and flossing is essential. If after two weeks of proper brushing and flossing the bleeding still persists, please see your dentist to have them determine if there is a gum infection that they need to treat or some other factor that is causing the bleeding.
Myth: Straightening treatments such as SmileDirectClub are safe and effective.
True—only if you have very minor crowding of your teeth. The problem is that self-diagnosing what is minor and what needs a dentist to monitor the movement is impossible for most patients to determine. Your best bet is to see your dentist first and let them determine how difficult or simple the process will be to correct your specific problems. The old adage ‘If it seems too good to be true it probably is,’ really rings true here. Don’t mess with your health; see a dentist for professional advice. 404.869.7711, @goldsteindentalcenter
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