The dental world is full of myths. Some seem reasonable, while others seem far-fetched. The more reasonable sounding ones typically spread like wildfire, which leads to many people believing the wrong things. If you are interested in learning more about your oral health, start by learning about these five common dental myths:

1. White Teeth Automatically Equal Healthy Teeth

A common misconception that many people believe is that white teeth are automatically healthy. Some even believe that white teeth are healthier than yellow or stained teeth. While white teeth do look better, that doesn't automatically mean that they are healthier. Even with white teeth, you can suffer from gingivitis, cavities, and infection. The only way to tell if your teeth are truly healthy is by visiting the dentist, not by evaluating their color.

2. Teeth Whitening Is Bad for Your Teeth

A lot of people believe that whitening your teeth is bad or dangerous. While this holds true for past years, it's not true any more. In the past, tooth whiteners used a very acidic concoction to create whiter teeth. When used, this concoction would break down the enamel on your teeth which could cause pain, sensitivity, or eventual decay. However, tooth whitening technology has advanced a lot in recent years. Dentists no longer use materials that will break down your tooth enamel. So it is completely safe to whiten your teeth.

3. You Shouldn't Brush Your Gums

Another misconception is that you shouldn't brush your gums. This is not true at all. In fact, brushing your gums is a good idea. Like brushing your teeth, brushing your gums helps to remove plaque and bacteria. It also stimulates your gums, which increases blood flow and oral health. So if you want to avoid cavities, infection, and gum disease, brush those gums. If you find that your gums are sensitive, use a soft bristle brush or brush lightly.

4. Sugar Is to Blame for Cavities

While sugar does help create cavities, it isn't the sole reason you have them. The reason this misconception came to life is because the bacteria in the mouth needs sugar to thrive and reproduce. However, that doesn't mean that sugar is the cause of your cavities. Even if you don't eat sugar, you can still develop cavities if you have bad oral hygiene.

5. You Should Brush Immediately after Eating

This myth seems reasonable when you first think about it: brushing after meals will help eliminate food particles and bacteria, which will give you a healthier mouth. It sounds good in theory, but it just doesn't work they way you would imagine. After you eat, your mouth creates saliva to break down food particles left in the mouth. This saliva is acidic and makes your enamel soft. If you brush immediately after eating, you might actually be brushing away your tooth enamel. So it might be doing more harm than good.

If you have been a believer in these myths, you now know the truth. So spread the word and talk to your dentist regularly, so that you always have the correct information—and not some rumor. Your mouth—and dentist—will thank you.