What is a Myth?
The dictionary defines myth as a popular belief or tradition or unfounded or false notion. One myth that has been passed on for generations, especially popular among cooks, is salt thrown over your left shoulder brings good luck. Although this might bring peace of mind to the cook I doubt it keeps the soup from burning. There are myths about everything you can imagine. Monsters in the lagoon, money brings happiness, garlic keeps away vampires and keeping your wisdom teeth makes you wise. This is just one of the many myths regarding dental care.
Gums Bleed Because You are Brushing too Rough.
Although it is possible to make your gums bleed by fierce brushing and flossing, this is not usually the cause. Gum tissue is pretty durable. If maintained well it envelopes teeth for a lifetime. Assuming that you are noticing blood on your toothbrush or spitting pink in the sink there is most likely an infection of your gum tissue. This is not uncommon. Bacteria and plaque hide under the gums where brushing cannot reach. If your gums bleed you need to have a dental professional evaluate for gum disease. Gingivitis is curable if treated, if neglected it can progress into more serious dental conditions.
There is not a Problem with Teeth Until There is Pain
The first stage of gum disease or cavities is not painful. By the time you feel pain the cavity has reached the center of the tooth where the nerves are located. At this point you will most likely need a root canal and crown placed on that tooth. Gum disease is also painless until it has progressed to a more severe infection. To save your natural teeth regular dental visits are required. Frequent cleanings and occasional oral x-rays can often prevent and detect early signs of disease and cavities. Your smile is priceless and this is the economical way for them to be maintained.
Dental Problems Stay in My Mouth
Your mouth is the beginning of your gastrointestinal system: it’s all connected. Blood vessels in the gums are linked to the system that carries the infection to the entire body. If you immune system is working hard to fight off mouth infections there is less power overcome bodily infections.
Children Don’t Need to See a Dentist Until They Have Permanent Teeth
If you believe this myth then you have made caring for your child’s teeth much more difficult than it needs to be. First of all, cavities can develop in baby teeth and they are painful. If the cavity is sizable the tooth may have to be removed. Decay can progress to the gums and bone also. Baby teeth are space holders for the permanent teeth. Early loss can affect alignment of secondary teeth. Begin cleaning your infant’s gums with a piece of gauze or soft cloth moistened with water after feedings before the first tooth appears. When that tooth breaks through you can use a soft wet toothbrush to clean teeth and gums. This familiarizes the infant with mouth care. Take your child to visit the dentist around his/her first birthday. A meet and greet visit introduces the child to the dentist and the experience of having a stranger looking into the mouth. It’s not too late at any age to begin good oral habits.
Tooth Decay is Caused by too Much Sugar
Not necessarily so, but sugar is a contributing factor. We all have natural bacteria in our mouth. Breakdown of carbohydrates (sugar is a carb) begins in the mouth by bacteria doing their job. During this process acid is produced and it mixes with saliva. Acids plus saliva produce decay. Acids also weaken tooth enamel. When plaque, a mass of bacteria, isn’t completely removed by brushing and flossing, especially between teeth along the gumline, it becomes tartar and then needs a professional cleaning. Eating sugar in limited amounts, brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings will keep your mouth healthy. Avoid eating sugary foods often, especially when you are unable to brush and floss. Frequency will do more damage than an occasional sweet treat.
Teeth Whitening will Damage My Enamel
Following the directions on the package will not harm your enamel. As you age enamel on your teeth thins and the darker underlayer is closer to the surface. Some foods and dark colored beverages will also darken your formerly white teeth, as will smoking. There are many products on the market for whitening teeth. Used as directed they will give you modest results. However, your dentist will have more a powerful whitening solution if the over the counter products don’t do the trick. Whitening may leave your teeth sensitive for a few hours and gums a little tender. This should relieve itself if you used the product as directed or had whitening professionally done.
Babies Steal Calcium from Mother’s Teeth During Pregnancy.
No, this is not the reason expectant mothers have softer teeth. By age 16 or so, except for your wisdom teeth which may be still forming, your teeth are completely formed and the enamel can not be sucked away. Unlike bones, once tooth enamel is formed it no longer contains blood vessels linking it with baby in any way. So why do cavities seem to appear more often during pregnancy? A few common causes are increased acid in the mouth due to vomiting related to morning sickness or acid reflux from the enlarging uterus pushing on the stomach. Remember, acid softens enamel. Do not brush your teeth immediately after vomiting or consuming very acidic foods or beverages. Rinse with water and brush around 30 minutes later to avoid damage to the enamel. Another cause may be an expectant mother’s diet could change with increasing desires to eat more sweets and brushing and flossing habits may wane with a change in priorities. Dental exams and cleanings are encouraged during pregnancy, with the second trimester is preferred. Untreated cavities can lead to gum infections leading to further oral problems.
Don’t believe everything you hear or read when it comes to myths about your dental care. Talk with your dentist about any concerns you may have. As a professional, they will listen and answer your questions. Make routine dental appointments a priority and schedule your care at White Oak Family Dentistry in Garner, NC every six months. Efficient oral hygiene will give you an attractive smile and healthier self image and that is no myth!