Since the proliferation of web searching, the internet has been an invaluable tool for providing information on oral health. It has also, unfortunately, helped to spread large amounts of misinformation at the same time. Not all websites are reputable and some are full of information that is misleading or just plain wrong. At Altima Dental, we want to ensure that you know what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to oral health.
Four Myths about Oral Health:
1. If my teeth look white and I don’t feel any pain, my teeth and gums are healthy and I don’t need to see the dentist twice annually.
False. Regular dental hygiene care is important for the early detection of cavities and gum disease. Often, by the time pain is felt, advanced disease is present. Early detection by a dental professional can prevent lengthy and costly treatments.
2. Whitening/bleaching your teeth is dangerous.
False. We’ve all heard the horror stories of patients who’ve suffered permanent damage or enamel erosion from teeth whitening products. These side effects only occur when patients choose unsafe over-the-counter products, which can contain high levels of peroxide or they don’t follow the instructions. Whether you are choosing a take-home product or having an in-chair session done, it’s always best to consult your dentist first to determine what the safest and most effective options are.
3. Cavities and gum disease aren’t normal.
False. On the contrary, gum disease is extremely common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease, cavities and plaque buildup.
4. Flossing is a total waste of time.
False. Everyone should be flossing daily in order to prevent gum disease and cavities that form in between the teeth. If you’re not a regular flosser, you most likely have gingivitis (the early form of gum disease) and your gums will bleed the next time you floss or even brush.
Four Truths about Oral Health:
1. Good practices of oral health aren’t innate or developed over night.
True: A white smile doesn’t happen overnight. Several small positive changes in your routine will contribute to this gradual process.
2. It is important to start good oral hygiene practices early.
True: The foundation for healthy permanent teeth in children and teenagers is laid during the first years of life. This is also the best time to teach kids why going to the dentist is important. By establishing good oral hygiene routines (brushing after meals, flossing, brushing your tongue) for your children right from the start, you’ll give them the best chance of keeping their teeth healthy.
3. There is a link between oral health and your overall health.
True: Studies have shown a direct correlation between oral hygiene and a patient’s overall health. Poor dental hygiene and gum disease may directly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and even diabetic complications. Women who have poor dental health may be more susceptible to pre-term birth and giving birth to low-weight babies. Some other examples of diseases that can be caused by poor oral health:
- Certain types of cancer (i.e. leukemia)
- Digestion problems
- Heart, kidney and other major organ disease
- Ulcers, mouth sores, swollen gums and dry mouth
4. What you eat can affect your oral health.
True: Although poor nutrition does not cause periodontal disease directly, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and can be more severe in people with nutrient-poor diets. How does this happen? If your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection. Not only is teaching proper oral habits important from early childhood, teaching your children about eating patterns and food choices are also important to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Want to make sure your oral health is the best it can be? Contact us today! We can schedule an appointment for an oral examination and dental hygiene visit.
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A version of this post was first published on Altima Dental Blog