From web search options, to Facebook groups, to Instagram – we are constantly exposed to inexhaustible overloads of boundless information. Sometimes, too much information can actually be greatly disadvantageous, and, in many cases – quite damaging. Today, we will dispel some of the most common myths pertaining to your oral health in part I of our “Busting the top dental health myths” series.
Dental Myth #1: “My teeth don’t hurt, so I don’t need to go to the dentist.”
Many dental diseases are asymptomatic, or “subclinical” – meaning they present without any obvious symptoms. Cavities may be undetected until they cross into the more sensitive part of the tooth called dentin, and even then – slight sensitivity to cold may or may not occur. In particular, as we get older and the pulp inside our teeth shrinks – we may experience less and less sensitivity, making it even more important to seek regular dental care. Periodontal disease – or gum disease – may be inconspicuous until enough bone loss has taken place and teeth begin to loosen and move. At this point, the treatments that are available become limited, and there is a great possibility of losing the affected teeth. Lastly, serious diseases like oral cancer may hide in areas that are difficult to see – so it’s so important to visit a dentist for a full check up every 6-12 months.
Dental Myth #2:“It’s just a little bleeding, everyone’s gums bleed when they brush. I am probably just brushing too hard.”
It would be a great cause for concern if another part of our body spontaneously bled when touched – it just does not happen in a healthy situation. It is the same with our gums – when they’re healthy – there should not be any bleeding when flossing or brushing. Seeing pink means there is gum inflammation, indicating an early stage of gum disease – so please make sure to see your dentist for a cleaning and a check up twice a year – early stage gum disease is fully reversible, so it is best to detect it early.
Dental Myth #3: “It’s just a baby tooth, it will fall out anyway.”
The truth is – baby teeth have lots of great purpose! They allow kids to get adequate nutrition, develop proper facial structure, and maintain space in order to allow adult teeth to grow in the right position. In addition, baby teeth play a crucial role in speech development as well. If baby teeth are lost too early – the rest of the teeth may shift, decreasing the space that’s needed for the adult teeth to properly erupt, resulting in a domino effect that will most likely affect the child well into adulthood. Therefore, proper care and dental visits are just as important for kids as they are for adults!
Dental Myth #4: “My parents lost their teeth when they were young, so the same thing is going to happen to me. Bad teeth are genetic, and there is nothing I can do about it – everyone in my family ends up needing dentures anyway.”
There are so many reasons for losing teeth – including tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, fracture, or facial trauma. Many communities used to have non-fluoridated water, and there may have been limited access to care. People used to fear going to the dentist because dental care was different. Today’s dental care is modern, and practices focus on patient comfort and prevention. With the right home care and regular dental visits – losing teeth does not have to be have to be a certainty! Many people in today’s generations have no cavities well into their adulthood – so eat right, floss, brush – and keep your teeth for a lifetime!
Dental Myth #5: “X-rays give off too much radiation and are just not necessary – I just want a cleaning.” With digital x-rays on the forefront of modern dentistry – patients no longer have to fear unnecessary or excessive exposure to radiation! Most dental x-rays provide less radiation than what patients are normally exposed to on a daily basis just from being outside! There are so many dental conditions that are only visible through x-rays – so it’s very important for the patients’ health to have x-rays taken as advised by their dentist – while keeping in mind that the radiation exposure with digital x-rays is minimal!