When it comes to health-related issues, most of us don’t ignore the necessity of acknowledging they must be addressed. The same is true when it comes to oral health. Unfortunately, in an age where we turn to the internet for our information, we suddenly have become inundated with “alternative facts” and inaccurate reporting of truth.
There is easily so much access to anything you may want to find, and there are many myths perpetuated through no rhyme, reason, or logic. This is dangerous because we become susceptible to misinformation that could have catastrophic consequences.
Oral Health Myths that Aren’t True
Most people understand and agree that the basics of oral health are true: brush twice a day, floss daily, rinse with mouthwash, stay away from overly sugary foods, and maintain regular visits with your dentist. But beyond this there is more to your overall health at stake than just routine dental hygiene. So it’s time to set the record straight.
Here are 10 oral health myths you need to ignore to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle:
Fluoride toothpaste is bad for your teeth.
There seems to be some controversy over the side-effects of fluoride toothpaste. While it began in the 50s and 60s, much of the controversy has subsided and the facts are coming out. However, there are still questions about its effects on health. While fluoride is a naturally occurring substance, it comes with both good and bad.
Fluoride has the ability to naturally strengthen teeth, and its use in conjunction with toothpaste or mouthwash can prove to be a benefit. However, it’s important to note that too much consumption of it can have detrimental effects. Ingesting more than 5-10 grams for an adult is excessive, and too much for a child under 8 can be harmful as well. Note: A pea-sized amount of toothpaste typically only contains .3mg of fluoride.
Sugar is the main cause of oral health problems.
We’ll agree that sugar isn’t the best thing for your oral health. But it is definitely not the only culprit. In fact, most oral health problems are actually caused by the naturally occurring oral bacteria that produce plaque buildup. This, paired with failure to maintain regular dental visits, is what leads to most oral health problems.
Just like fluoride, too much sugar will absolutely play a part in assisting with tooth decay, and this is often the result of the carbohydrates in sugary foods. As usual, it’s important to pay attention to the foods you consume as well as maintaining regular dental hygiene. And that includes visits to the dentist.
Daily flossing and brushing aren’t as important as my dentist recommends.
There’s a reason oral health professionals spend years being educated in their fields, and it’s not just to receive a certificate. These are licensed doctors and practitioners, and if you want to stay healthy, it’s vital to pay attention to their advice.
Small food particles build up in the tiny crevices in your mouth and between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t always reach. If left unchecked, those particles can become plaque, which then becomes tartar, and that tartar turns into gingivitis, cavities, tooth loss, or worse. Pay attention to your dental professional and include flossing in your daily oral hygiene.
It’s okay for pregnant women to ignore bleeding gums.
There are many bodily changes that occur during a woman’s pregnancy, and one of them includes a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis.” It doesn’t occur for every pregnant woman, but it has been known to result in bleeding gums. However, it is not something to be dismissed.
Typically, bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. That’s serious enough to not ignore, so being pregnant shouldn’t mean it’s okay to let it slide. Regular brushing and flossing will help keep bleeding gums at bay, but a checkup with a dental health professional is the best course of action, just in case.
Going to the dentist will be a painful experience.
It’s understandable that many people wish to avoid pain. And one prior bad experience can haunt you for the rest of your life. We have a tendency to over dramatize things that we fear. The bottom line is, if you maintain a regular routine of oral health, your visits to the dentist will be of minimal to no pain at all.
Even if you wind up experiencing pain, it’s important to remember that your oral health professional is here to help. And once it’s all over you will thank him or her. Unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t seen a dentist in years, and this is where a painful experience can come into play. But if you talk to your dentist about your fears, you will at least get the truth about what will occur during your visit, and there may even be pain-free methods to your oral care available.
Silver-based oral fillings are a health risk.
There is some truth to this claim, but, as always, it comes with a caveat. The issue with silver-based oral fillings lies in the mercury that they are made from. If mercury leaks out into the mouth, it can lead to autoimmune and chronic diseases. This can happen with people who grind their teeth, drink hot or carbonated beverages, or chew a lot of gum.
Because the potential of a mercury leak is dangerous, many modern fillings no longer use silver. Old fillings made of silver can be replaced in a timely manner, but there’s no need to panic. One or two fillings are not as dangerous as an entire row of teeth made with silver fillings. However, if you are still concerned, consult with your dentist about replacements.
Bad breath is a sign of gum disease.
Bad breath has been known to be a sign of gum disease, but that doesn’t mean one always follows the other. In fact, it could be a sign of other complications. For example, it could be digestive issues, acid reflux, bowel obstruction, or something else. The best way to know for sure is to consult with your dentist or primary care physician.
Brushing bleeding gums will only make them worse.
It’s understandable that you may not want to irritate an issue that already looks bad. If your gums are bleeding, the chances of it being from lack of proper care are greater than being from excessive care. The truth is, the cleaner your entire mouth is, the less likelihood of plaque buildup all around. Bleeding gums could be a sign of gingivitis, but continued routine oral maintenance is a good way to offset it. However, the best course of action is to visit with your dentist to determine preventative care.
White teeth are healthy teeth.
While white teeth may be more aesthetically pleasing, they don’t act as the standard bearer for complete oral health. It’s possible to have white teeth that are healthy, but image isn’t everything. And teeth are not the only measure of total oral health. Some teeth also discolor with age, and that doesn’t necessarily affect health either. Pay attention to your gums, roots, jawbone, and other issues by maintaining regular dental checkups.
Diet has no effect on oral health.
Diet plays more than just a role in your overall health. And believe it or not, oral health plays a large role in your overall health as well. Poor dental health can contribute to heart disease, strokes, and more. Eating right will also have a positive impact on your oral health, and not just limited to your teeth, but gums, jawbone, and breath as well.
Contact us for Professional Dental Care Today
Debunking oral health myths may be one thing, but actually maintaining positive oral health with regular dental visits is another. If you would like to schedule a visit with us or want answers to any other common oral health myths, contact the oral health professionals at Century Stone Dental today.
No matter your age, dental condition, and if you have a million questions, Dr. Sims can assist you or your young children in a professional manner and loves answering any of your questions or concerns.
Dr. Sims grew up in Grimsby playing basketball, so he’s always up for talking about the Raptors! He’s also a football fan - go Buffalo Bills! In his free time, if he’s not watching a basketball game or football game, you’ll likely find him working out, cooking (got any new recipe ideas?), and of course, spending time with his amazing family.