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In today’s day there’s so much information surrounding us all the time. It’s sometimes hard to tell what information is true and what isn’t! There are some dental myths out there we think are important to debunk, so read along and find some answers!
It actually depends. Foods high in carbs and sugars ignite the formation of certain bacterias in the mouth that go after tooth enamel. The sooner you brush after eating these types of foods, the sooner you can stop the bacteria from forming. However, if you brush right after eating foods that are highly acidic, like oranges and other citrus fruits, you can actually harm your enamel. Acidic foods weaken the enamel and brushing immediately after can further weaken the enamel. If you plan on drinking some lemonade or eating an orange, brush your teeth before doing so and then drink water after to wash away some of the acid. According to the Mayo Clinic, “if you’ve consumed anything acidic, you should avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes.”
For the most part, the only time you have to worry about whitening being harmful to your enamel is overuse, or misuse, of an over-the-counter whitening method. Dr. Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry in New York City, put it most clearly in an interview with Fox News when he said, “Really, the safest teeth whitening is done under the supervision of a dentist or a dental hygienist in a dental office … There’s a lot of over-the-counter products that can damage your enamel. If the product is too acidic, the product is too strong … Overuse or misuse of these products can cause the enamel to get fragile and even more porous. These are the kinds of things that really need more regulation, and they can be damaging, but teeth whitening by itself is a safe treatment.”
Sugar alone is NOT the cause of tooth decay. Actually, all carbohydrates whether they come from bread, pasta, candy bars, pretzels, ice cream, grapes, apples or strawberries produce acid that causes plaque when combined with saliva in your mouth. According to Smile Guide, “The real issue with eating too much sugar is the bacteria that forms in your mouth as the breakdown of sucrose occurs.” If you want to avoid bacteria forming, refer to #1 above!
Not necessarily! Alcohol-free mouthwashes have a lot of benefits. According to Dr. Curatola, “Mouthwash should not have alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating and denaturing to this natural ecology of the mouth called the oral microbiome.” If you ask your dentist about your oral health concerns they will be able to recommend a mouthwash to fit your personal needs!
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