What You Don’t Know About Oral Health Can Hurt You
We learn about taking care of our mouths in a variety of ways, ideally from dental professionals, but we also pick up ideas from our parents, our friends, television, and even from our own assumptions. Sometimes what we learn is not only wrong, but also can result in harm to our teeth. Here are some of the most common misconceptions people have about their dental health.
1. Cavities in Baby Teeth Are No Big Deal
Baby teeth may be temporary, but they are very important since they provide the space that will allow permanent teeth to grow in properly. If cavities in baby teeth are not addressed promptly, it can cause early tooth loss, which also means the loss of the natural space maintainer, making it necessary for a dentist to create an artificial spacer to allow adult teeth to come in properly. Also, if children don’t establish a habit of brushing their teeth, there’s a greater chance they won’t brush and floss their permanent teeth either.
2. Flossing Isn’t Really Necessary
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recently removed the recommendation to floss regularly, based on lack of strong evidence to support the practice. However, most dentists continue to recommend flossing to remove the plaque that builds up around and between the teeth.
3. Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Is the Same as Brushing Your Teeth
While chewing sugar-free gum that contains xylitol can help protect the teeth and stimulate the production of saliva to wash away harmful acids, it does not replace brushing and flossing, which are much more effective at removing plaque from all surfaces of the teeth. For optimum dental health, you should floss and brush for about two minutes twice a day.
4. Sugar Is the Main Cause of Cavities
Although sugar is a major cause of cavities, starchy foods like crackers and chips can be even worse for the teeth, since the carbohydrates these snacks contain have not only the sugars that break down the teeth, but they also stick to the teeth, causing plaque to form and build up over time if the teeth are not cleaned well.
5. Gum Disease Affects Only the Teeth
If you have gum disease, you are more likely to have other health problems as well, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer that are connected to inflammation, including pancreatic cancer. According to Medical News Today, the enzyme Treponema denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase (Td-CTLP), which increases the risk of gum disease, also is present in some tumors, where it allows cancer cells to invade previously healthy cells.
6. White Teeth Indicate a Healthy Mouth
While this can be true, it isn’t necessarily the case. Teeth are naturally white, but they can be discolored by unhealthy habits like smoking, which can also lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Other factors that aren’t necessarily harmful also can darken the teeth. These include medication, stains from otherwise healthy foods and drinks, and the natural process of aging.
7. Teeth Decline With Age, and Nothing Can Be Done About It
Getting older does not necessarily mean dental health will automatically decline, although many elderly adults do have dental problems. Those who take good care of their teeth during their youth and through their adult years can still have healthy teeth in their later years. Oral hygiene is important at every age: You should brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly during your entire life to ensure that your dental health is maintained.
Don’t let dental myths get in the way of the health of your teeth. To find out more about how good dental care can maximize your overall health, contact Knights Family Dentistry.