Unfortunately, even though basic oral hygiene should be straightforward, many people are still misinformed about the importance of regular dental care and proper brushing and flossing. Once you know the facts about dental health, you’ll be on the path to excellent dental health for years to come.
Here are some common dental myths that will keep you from choosing the best care for your teeth.
Myth: My Gums Bleed, So I Should Not Floss
This is a common myth, and it is very damaging. When gums bleed during brushing and flossing, it’s a sign of the early stages of gum disease. Gums start to bleed because oral health has been neglected.
So, the best solution is not to stop flossing or brushing but is to make flossing and brushing daily a priority. In the early stages of gum disease, the gums can recover. If you keep putting off good tooth and gum care, the disease can progress and could require expensive restorative dentistry.
The easiest way to fix bleeding gums is to keep them clean.
Myth: My Teeth Don’t Hurt, So I Don’t Need to See the Dentist
Many people think that they need to see the dentist only when something is wrong. However, if you put off seeing the dentist until you’re in pain, the necessary dental work will be much more extensive and costly.
Cavities do not usually hurt. A cavity is preliminary tooth decay that breaks through the hard outer enamel and starts eating away at the softer dentin inside your tooth. You will not feel any pain until the decay reaches the nerve (or root) of the tooth. At this point, a simple filling will not solve the problem. You will need a root canal to save your tooth.
Seeing your dentist regularly (usually every six months) for cleaning and x-rays helps to catch cavities when they are small. Proactive dental care is much safer and much more affordable for your oral health.
Myth: Children’s Teeth Just Fall Out, So Dental Care Is Not Needed
Primary teeth, also known as milk or baby teeth, are actually essential for the future of your child’s dental health. Care for early primary teeth is important because:
Primary teeth mark the path for adult teeth. If a primary tooth is not cared for, it may decay so badly it will need to be pulled. Pulling out primary teeth sets a child up to have a crooked smile later in life because the primary teeth provide spacing and growth direction for permanent teeth.
Caring for primary teeth forges the habit to properly care for permanent teeth. Good dental-care habits are learned early. It can be difficult to teach an older child to respect their adult teeth when they never learned to respect their earlier teeth.
Neglecting tooth care can lead to infection. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for toddlers and young children to have decay so advanced that an abscess develops. These dental infections are very serious, and when they are untreated, they can spread to other parts of the body, including the bones and the brain. Good brushing and flossing will prevent this type of infection from ever developing.
Care for primary teeth puts your child on the path of good dental health for the rest or his or her life.
Myth: Brushing Harder Will Clean My Teeth Better
With all the emphasis placed on the importance of brushing well and often, many people over-brush. While brushing hard may give you the feeling that you are cleaning your teeth better, in reality hard brushing only serves to damage the gums.
Your gum tissue is delicate and soft. With repeated rough strokes over the gum line, the tissue becomes aggravated, and it will start to recede, exposing the root of the tooth. Your teeth will become more sensitive to hot and cold. They’ll also be more prone to infection and decay.
With extreme recession, you will need restorative work like gum grafts to help replace the lost gum line.
Instead of brushing hard, take care to use gentle, diagonal strokes to clean the teeth without aggravating the gums. Set a timer for two minutes. Soft brushing for the full two minutes will leave your mouth sparkling clean without any negative side effects.
Myth: It’s Normal to Lose Teeth with Age
In decades past, it was common for seniors to lose their teeth. However, with current dental care and awareness, there is no reason why a healthy individual should lose their teeth with age. Proper dental care and good dietary practices during youth and young adulthood can ensure the survival of all your teeth.
Some medical problems can, however, lead to premature tooth loss. For example, those with acid reflux or specific medications can experience a higher rate of tooth loss.
For more information on the simplicity of preventative dental care for your family, contact us at Schererville Family Dentistry.