older black man stands in his bathroom about to floss his teeth

Determining Fact From Fiction

From diet soda to the frequency of visits to the dentist for cleanings and checkups, there are countless misconceptions when it comes to healthy habits vs. those that are doing harm to your teeth, gums and mouth.

In this article, we aim to expel some of these common myths whilst emphasizing the importance of proper dental care and the impact it can have on your overall health.

Common Dental Myths, Debunked

There is a plethora of information and advice available online regarding proper oral care. Unfortunately, a lot of it is either false or misleading. With new developments in healthcare happening each and every day, messages sometimes get crossed.

Dental myths have existed for years and have been passed down from generation to generation. In order to set the record straight, we have compiled a list of the most common myths to watch and/or listen for.

Myth: You Only Need to Go To The Dentist If Something Is Wrong

Skipping dental appointments allows bacteria to flourish, and bacteria eat away at your teeth and gums, creating decay. When decay starts, if left untreated, it can become far worse quickly and require extensive restorations, root canal or crowns. It can also cause bad breath. On top of the above, it can cause gum or periodontal disease.

Myth: Cavities Aren’t An Issue With Baby Teeth

Poor oral health in earlier years can lead to lifelong complications. Kids should be brushing their teeth twice per day the moment they have teeth. Decay in children can lead to health concerns long after they have lost their baby teeth.

Myth: Diet Soda Won’t Harm Your Teeth

Studies suggest that sugar-free beverages, including diet sodas and sports drinks, can erode tooth enamel, which can eventually lead to tooth decay. Erosion can appear on tooth surfaces as chalkiness, pitting or opacity and can also cause sensitivity. Acidic additives used to flavour sugar-free soft drinks are responsible for the enamel erosion.

The worst of these is citric acid used in lime and lemon drinks. Phosphoric acid used in cola is almost as damaging.

Myth: Oral Health Issues Only Affect The Mouth

Your oral health is very important for your overall health. A simple visit to the dentist can detect diabetes, oral cancer, TMD, HIV/AIDS, thyroid problems, iron deficiency/anemia, leukemia and eating disorders. Therefore, conditions may be detected early, leading to earlier treatment.

Myth: Your Teeth Automatically Deteriorate As You Age

This is a common misconception. As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. One common misconception is that losing your teeth is inevitable. This is incorrect. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime.

Myth: Tooth Decay Only Occurs If You Eat Too Much Sugar

When people think of cavities, they immediately tend to think of sugar. Candies, sweets, lollipops—you name it. However, dentists have stated that crackers and chips might be even worse.

It is believed that cavities are caused more by poor dental hygiene, starch and carbohydrates containing sugar, breaking down the tooth and sticking to it.

Myth: Flossing Isn’t Actually That Important

100% False. Flossing is an integral part of good oral health. Flossing removes up to 80% of plaque buildup on teeth. As you may know, plaque deposits promote tooth decay, however, daily flossing can keep plaque at bay, protecting your teeth in the long run.

Myth: Whiter Teeth Equals Healthier Teeth

In most cases, the natural colour of teeth, is in fact, light-grey or a pale shade of yellow. Teeth naturally darken with age and their appearance can be affected by the accumulation of surface stains acquired from the consumption of certain foods or drinks over the years.

Myth: Teeth Whitening Is Damaging

Bleaching products can have multiple side effects, such as damaging the dental enamel, causing irritation to the gums, tooth sensitivity and more. Some of these effects are lasting. For example, damage to the dental enamel can be permanent and irreversible. Bleaching is not recommended for everyone, so we recommend you speak with your dentist beforehand.

Myth: Dental Care During Pregnancy is Unsafe For The Baby

This is a common myth that has been around for decades. Many believe that taking care of your oral health during pregnancy does nothing to promote the health of mothers or their babies. This is untrue. X-Rays would only ever be performed when necessary.

Your dentist will take every measure to ensure that the health of you and your child are protected. Risking dental complications by forgoing dental visits altogether does nothing to protect the health of you or your child, so be sure to continue your regular dental checkups.

Fact: Oral Health Should Be Treated With The Same Urgency As Anything Else

Maintaining good oral health habits can play an important role in keeping you healthy, overall. Poor oral health can influence the way you speak, eat and socialize. As a result, these oral health problems can impact your life significantly. Oral disease, like any other disease, needs to be treated. A chronic infection, including one in your mouth, is a serious problem that should never be ignored. Visit your local dentist to ensure that your mouth and smile lasts a lifetime.

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