Common medical questions and answers through blogs and articles

Common Myths About Dental Care

There are old wives’ tales and urban legends on every topic imaginable.  Once upon a time, household hints and medical tips were passed along from generation to generation and circulated by housewives at a kaffeeklatsch  or via the glossy pages of “Good Housekeeping” magazine.  Through the wonders of the internet, we no longer need to rely on the written words and collection of “how to” tips from our ancestors –  we need only “Google” to get what info we need.  If the solution is dubious, we go to “Snopes” to verify the facts… but, even in this modern age, there are still many myths about dental care that exist.  Wherever do these stories come from?  Many of them are untrue, and simply unbelievable!  Have a look for yourself below:

Myth:   As long as I visit the dentist twice a year, my teeth will be fine.

Truth:   Even if you routinely see a dentist every six months, you need to look after your teeth every day.  Follow your dentist’s recommendation for dental care and diet to keep those chompers looking good and do visit your dentist and hygienist every six months.

Myth:  Using a hard toothbrush will clean my teeth better as the hard bristles scrub them better than a soft toothbrush.

Truth:  You may feel the hard brush is doing a better job, but in reality, this can result in an abrasion of the surface area of the tooth leaving them sensitive and painful.  Use that soft toothbrush your dentist gave you at your last appointment.

Myth:   Fluoride is an artificial substance added to toothpaste and water.

Truth:  Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance which helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the them.

Myth:  I never had a cavity when I was a child, therefore I don’t need to worry about getting cavities as an adult.

Truth:  You get a gold star for no cavities as a child, but your stellar behavior has no impact on your future dental health.  A lapse in eating a nutritious diet, or taking prescription meds which cause dry mouth, will quickly alter that great, no-cavity track record.

Myth:  All wisdom teeth must be removed as soon as possible.

Reality:  Once wisdom teeth make an intrusion in your gums, you must watch for bleeding, or if the wisdom teeth crowds your rear molars, as your teeth will shift.  If wisdom teem come in without incident and without being impacted, they can stay.  In some cases, rear molars are extracted and wisdom teeth will be used in their place and stead.

Myth:  My parents each lost their teeth by their mid-50s, so I will too.

Truth:  You do not have to follow in your parent’s footsteps if you see a dentist and hygienist regularly, follow a healthy diet and practice good oral hygiene.

Myth:  You can catch colds by kissing, but can you “catch bacteria” that causes tooth decay from another person?

Truth:  Yes, the transmission of bacteria that causes tooth decay routinely occurs from mothers to infants.

Myth:  If you have a toothache, placing an aspirin next to the sore tooth will help alleviate the pain.

Truth:  Aspirin only works in the blood stream and will not help out with the pain.  Even oral gel analgesics might dull the pain, but continued use of them leads to burn symptoms on the gums.

Myth:  As long as you drink diet soda which does not contain sugar, you won’t get cavities.

Truth:  Diet soda is highly acidic and will eat into the surface of the enamel in your teeth.  After that happens, the tooth enamel is weaker and more cavity prone.  Although sugar is technically bad for your teeth, it is not the sugar that is hurting causing cavities. Processed sugars linger in your mouth and if you have poor dental hygiene, you’ll get cavities.

Myth:  White teeth are healthy teeth; discolored or dingy teeth are not healthy.

Truth:  Pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth because the natural color of  varies significantly from person to person.  Discoloration of the teeth happens due to food, drink, medicine or reaching an older age, when enamel begins to wear down the properties of the teeth.

Myth:  It’s risky to bleach your teeth to keep them white and bright.

Truth:  The methods and technology used in dental offices for bleaching teeth have grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years and the bleaching agents are now pH balanced and considered very safe.  Before 1990, the materials used to bleach teeth were acidic and did break down the enamel, but this is no longer true.

 Myth:  Smoking cigarettes will discolor my teeth but that’s all.

Truth:  Smokers have more tooth decay than nonsmokers, as well as gum issues and the risk of oral cancer.

Myth:  If I switch from smoking to chewing tobacco, it is safer than smoking since it is not inhaled and won’t cause lung cancer.

Truth:   Chewing or “spit” tobacco is a primary risk for oral cancer; in fact the five-year survival rate is much lower than that for breast or prostate cancer.

Myth:  You shouldn’t have any dental work done during a pregnancy.

Truth:  Keep seeing your dentist and hygienist for regular checkups all through your pregnancy to prevent dental issues, but inform your dentist that you are pregnant before any check-ups and/or x-rays are taken.

Myth:  Brushing your gums and tongue will cause them to bleed and get infected.

Truth:  Brushing is not only the best choice for keeping your teeth clean, but will help remove plaque which is the root of all evil for inflammation, gingivitis, and eventually gum disease. Get rid of plaque pronto as gums will become inflamed and bleed if not removed.  This plaque can cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed if it is not removed.

Myth:  Flossing is not important.

Truth:  Flossing your teeth will clean an additional 33% of the tooth’s surface that your toothbrush can’t reach.  Thus, flossing is essential in your dental regimen.  P.S. – you need only floss the teeth you intend to keep!!!

A top dentist can help you dispel any myths about good dental practices and help you make your dental health a priority.

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