Skeptic’s Day is traditionally celebrated on January 13th to honor those who question everything before they believe it. And it’s not that skeptics don’t believe anything, they just need research before they are convinced of it. Are you a skeptic, or do you have one in your life? Here’s the truth behind eleven dental myths to satisfy your skeptic’s need for facts.
Dental Myth 1: Sugar rots your teeth
You’ve heard this one since you were a child. The reality is that it isn’t the amount of sugar a kid (or adult) eats that is the problem, but rather how long that sugar stays on your teeth. This means lollipops or suckers, and sugary drinks can cause problems if brushing isn’t done twice daily.
Dental Myth 2: Gum disease is rare
Stats show that between 50-75% of adult Americans have some form of gum disease. Only regular dental check-ups twice a year can help determine the severity and treatment. Red, swollen gums that easily bleed are just a few signs of gum disease.
Dental Myth 3: You should avoid the dentist during pregnancy
During pregnancy your hormones change dramatically and this can affect your oral health. Many pregnant women are concerned about receiving x-rays during this time and skip their regularly scheduled appointments but they shouldn’t. It’s important to keep those appointments to prevent gum disease and other oral concerns. It’s also not normal to lose a tooth during pregnancy, despite the old wives’ tale. If you lose a tooth during pregnancy, it’s due to other dental issues, not the baby.
Dental Myth 4: Diabetics require the same dental care as others
Diabetics require a more specific oral care plan than those without it as blood sugar issues and gingivitis are linked. As part of overall health, it’s even more important for people with diabetes to include a dentist as part of their care team.
Dental Myth 5: If you don’t see (or feel) anything wrong, you don’t need to go to the dentist
Dental care is designed to be primarily preventative care. Visits twice a year are important to catch concerns before they turn into large problems. By the time a tooth looks bad or hurts, you’ve already got a large problem that could end up costing you more to fix. If you have a specific concern with your dental health, you should schedule a dentist visit right away, however even if you don’t see a problem, it is recommended to visit your dentist bi-annually.
Dental Myth 6: Chewing gum is as effective as brushing
While chewing gum does support dental health, it is only one part. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice daily, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily, and chewing sugar-free gum after meals. But, chewing gum is not a replacement for, nor as effective as brushing.
Dental Myth 7: You don’t need to take your child to the dentist until they have their adult teeth
As soon as your child has erupted teeth, they can (and should) be seen by the dentist and should be taught good oral health care, such as brushing twice daily. Thumb sucking and other concerns exist before adult teeth come in and can be discussed with your pediatric dentist.
Dental Myth 8: Cavities in baby teeth don’t matter
Many people think baby teeth don’t matter since they are eventually replaced by adult teeth, and while that’s true, those baby teeth need to be taken care of too! Tooth decay can begin as soon as those teeth erupt and decay can cause not only cavities, but pain for your child which can lead to trouble eating and in some cases undernourishment. Baby teeth are also “placeholders” for their adult teeth so it’s even more important that they are well taken care of so those adult teeth can come in properly.
Dental Myth 9: Teeth whitening hurts your enamel
Professional teeth whitening or bleaching doesn’t hurt enamel, however it can cause temporary tenderness and mild gum bleeding not associated with gum disease.
Dental Myth 10: Getting wisdom teeth pulled is needed to prevent crowding
Wisdom teeth emerging can be very painful, and for youth needing braces, it may seem that removing them will solve the problem. This isn’t the always the case, however. Wisdom teeth can be, but aren’t always the culprit in teeth crowding. It’s best to consult with your dentist for any concerns about wisdom teeth.
Dental Myth 11: A “regular” cleaning is just as good as a “deep cleaning.”
A deep cleaning is needed when gum disease has taken hold and damage has occurred or bone loss has started. Once a deep cleaning has been completed more frequent cleanings are needed to stop any further damage from happening. A regular cleaning is done for those that do not have any damage to their gums or bone that hold their teeth in place.
Skeptic or believer, your dentist can help you answer any questions you have and give you the facts you need for optimal dental health. Find a dentist near you and to schedule your appointment today!