Even though everyone relies on their teeth for a good quality of life, not everybody is on the same page about how best to care for them. There are many stubborn misconceptions about oral health that keep us out of the dental hygiene office or keep us from finding our ideal smile. Here’s a look at six of them and what you should know instead.
1. Brushing Your Teeth Harder Is Better for You
If you want to get a stain out of a carpet or off a countertop, sometimes you have to put your back into it. This isn’t the case when it comes to your oral health, however.
Do make sure you’re brushing the area where your teeth meet your gums. But treat this area, and the rest of your teeth, with care. Brushing too hard can make the gums recede, which exposes a part of the tooth that’s not protected by enamel. This can increase your risk of tooth decay.
2. Sugar Is the Main Culprit of Cavities
“Sugar rots your teeth” has been conventional wisdom for generations. Unfortunately, avoiding cavities isn’t just a matter of eliminating sugary foods from your diet.
It’s still best to keep your sugar (and especially sugary drink) intake to a minimum. But carbohydrates are another factor in tooth decay and cavities. When sugars, starches or carbohydrates linger on the teeth, the mouth’s bacteria reduce them to acids.
In turn, these acids combine with saliva and other matter to become plaque — and plaque undermines the enamel of the teeth. It’s a chain of dominoes, but sugar isn’t the only thing that can topple it over.
3. I Don’t Need to See a Dentist If My Teeth Aren’t Painful
The most important thing to realize when it comes to your oral health is that prevention is paramount. As with other conditions in the body, the signs of gum disease, cavities and gingivitis often present themselves before the worst case has been realized.
If you’re already experiencing pain, it’s possible that advanced disease is present. The good news is that keeping up with regular visits to the dental office gives you a better chance of identifying and treating the early stages of disease or deterioration.
4. Oral Health Isn’t Important for Holistic Health
The health of the teeth and gums doesn’t exist in a vacuum — it actually does affect a person’s whole health.
For example, we know now that untreated gum infections may contribute to a range of cardiovascular problems. Periodontal disease is also associated with a higher risk of developing some types of arthritis. People with diabetes may even find it easier to regulate their blood sugar after improving their oral health.
5. Fluoride Should Be Avoided
Some of the most recently published scientific material on the subject of fluoride concludes that the topical use of fluoride — when it’s applied directly to the tooth — justifies its worldwide use as a prophylaxis against cavities.
Patients who want the best chance of avoiding tooth decay should talk to their dentist about adding fluoride treatments to their preventive care strategy.
6. Poor Oral Health Is the Only Cause of Bad Breath
Your dentist should be the first stop if you’ve been suffering from chronic bad breath (halitosis). It’s true that you might need to improve your approach to oral care, but it’s also possible your dentist will give you a clean bill of health. The truth is, bad breath over an extended period could also signify respiratory problems, kidney problems and conditions in other parts of the body.
Interested in Learning More About Your Oral Health, Including Common Misconceptions?
Contact Dental Choice today to set up an appointment. We can debunk other common dental hygiene misconceptions in our office or discuss our approach to dental crowns and reducing dental anxiety. We strive to bring professionalism and our very best efforts every day for each patient who walks through our doors.