Dental care can be confusing, and there are plenty of misunderstandings out there that don’t make it any easier. Dr. Locke can explain anything you don’t understand about your mouth. Here are a few of the common dental myths.

“All tooth stains can be easily removed.”

Your teeth soak in the color from foods, beverages, and tobacco. When your enamel becomes discolored, whitening toothpaste and over-the-counter whitening systems can help remove surface stains. It takes time for these methods to be effective. In most cases, Dr. Locke can professionally bleach your teeth. However, all stains react differently and some stains cannot be removed completely. If the stain goes too deep or the stain won’t whiten, you may have to cover the defects with veneers or bonding. In addition, if you over-whiten your teeth, it will result in more discoloration that cannot be fixed.

“Chewing gum is bad for your teeth.”

The sugars in some types of gum feed bacteria in your mouth, which contributes to decay. However, chewing gum increases your saliva production. Saliva helps keep your mouth moist, cleans your teeth, and neutralizes acid levels. Additionally, Xylitol, a sweetener found in sugar-free gum, helps fight oral bacteria in your mouth.

“Fluoride is unsafe.”

Fluoride is a necessary component in toothpaste and drinking water that helps protect your teeth. Excessive amounts of fluoride can be dangerous, but the amount found in drinking water is insignificant. In fact, you would have to drink about 5,000 glasses of fluoridated water in one sitting for it to start to hurt your body. The biggest risk of fluoride damage is for children who swallow toothpaste because it could cause fluorosis, a condition that leaves a mark on their smile.

“If nothing hurts, nothing’s wrong.”

Many dental problems are symptom-less. Bleeding gums is often overlooked as no big deal, but in most cases it’s the first sign of gum disease. Tooth decay often doesn’t hurt until it becomes large enough to cause a toothache, which means it has formed a cavity. Visiting Dr. Locke regularly can help spot changes and problems in the early stages so treatments are simpler.

Dr. Locke can clear up any misunderstandings about oral care and help keep your mouth healthy. Contact our dentist office in Waco, Texas, at (254) 776-4888 to schedule an appointment to help understand your oral health.