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It’s normal to get anxious about dental work. In fact, the Depart of Health and Human Services reported that 4.3 percent of Americans don’t go to the dentist because they are so afraid. Many of these fears tend to come from assumptions based upon myths society creates because there is so much uncertainty surrounding dentistry. In reality, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Here are some common myths in the field of dentistry and explanations as to why you should not believe them.

1. Bleaching Weakens Teeth – Some people worry that using bleaching products on their teeth can be harmful or weaken their teeth but there really isn’t any basis behind that fear. As long as you use the bleach according to the directions, it is generally harmless. Bleaching is only meant to affect the color of the teeth, not their strength or their health.

2. Brushing is Bad for Bleeding Gums – At first glance, this myth seems like it could be true. However, when your gums bleed, it means that plaque and food particles have built up along your gum line and the gums have become irritated and inflamed. The brushing you’re doing is removing that plaque and food, so the bleeding is perfectly normal.

3. Bad Breath Means You’re a Bad Brusher – There are many factors which contribute to bad breath. One of these can be poor dental hygiene, but that is often not the case. The foods you eat can also have an effect on your breath, along with illnesses like pneumonia.

4. The More Sugar You Eat, the Worse For Your Teeth – It’s not necessarily how much sugar you eat, but how long the sugar is in your mouth. The longer the sugar is in your mouth, the longer the bacteria produces acid and works on the enamel on your teeth. In short, it is actually better to eat four candy bars and brush your teeth directly after finishing them than it is to eat one candy bar without brushing your teeth.

5. Chewing Sugar-Free Gum After a Meal is Just as Effective as Brushing – Chewing gum may help get food and debris off of your teeth after a meal, but it does not, nor should it ever, take place of brushing. Brushing gets in the crevices of your teeth, whereas gum doesn’t have bristles that can work from all angles.