Even with years in business, we’re always surprised at the amount of myths and misconceptions about keeping your mouth healthy that circulate throughout our area—and the amount of people that believe them. We’ve listed some of the most common dental myths we’ve heard—and the most common dental myths that you shouldn’t believe (and why). Are you ready for these incorrect pearls of wisdom about your pearly whites? We’ll start with, by far, the most common (and dangerous) dental myth:
I don’t need to floss my teeth
This is partially true; you don’t need to floss your teeth if you don’t care about the health of your gums and teeth. If you do care about your pearly whites (and all the tissue that holds them in place), flossing your teeth is a valuable daily habit for several very good reasons:
- Flossing prevents tooth decay and cavities. Flossing is not about the food stuck between your teeth, but about removing plaque which causes tooth decay and cavities.
- You lessen your chance of gum disease. There are a number of contributing factors to gum disease, including poor oral health. Flossing your teeth can improve your oral health, saving you the pain associated with gum disease.
- A healthier mouth costs less. You may still have to invest in dental care whether you floss or not; there are many contributing factors to dental conditions. However, regular brushing and flossing can give you a healthier mouth, and a healthier mouth is a cheaper mouth when it comes to paying for dental care.
Sipping a soda doesn’t hurt my teeth
No, no, no! In fact, sipping a soda over a long period of time can increase your chance of tooth decay. Sodas, even diet sodas, contain sugar which can mingle with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. The acid from this reaction attacks your teeth and can decay tooth enamel. Scientific studies have shown a strong connection between soda consumption and tooth decay. If you can’t give up your daily soda, you can use these tips to reduce your risk of tooth decay from soda:
- Limit your soda consumption.
- Brush your teeth regularly and floss every day.
- Schedule regular dentist appointments and cleanings.
- Use a straw when you drink soda.
- Drink water after soda (or instead of soda), and swish in your mouth to reduce the amount of sugar on your teeth.
- Try to avoid soda before sleeping.
Everyone knows when they have a cavity
The real, and startling truth is no. Many an adult and child have been surprised to hear us say they have a cavity. While a cavity can cause pain, an individual can have a cavity and no symptoms—or the symptoms can be subtle, like sensitivity to warm or cold foods. Sometimes a patient can feel tiny holes in their teeth. Often, though, the patient has no way of knowing if they have a cavity or even multiple cavities. If left untreated, damage from the cavities can worsen and cause more dental issues.
This is one reason that regular dental check-ups are important, and why you shouldn’t delay scheduling your next check-up. Your dentist can find cavities during routine dental exams—and the sooner the better. If you catch a cavity early, often the treatment is less invasive and takes less time.
Invisalign is more expensive than traditional braces
That may be true at some dental offices, but not at Area Dental Clinic in Watertown. Invisalign corrects orthodontic problems with a series of removable clear trays, and has many benefits:
- completely invisible,
- fixes most common orthodontic problems,
- patients need less orthodontist visits (and maintenance) than traditional braces,
- no food restrictions while in.
On the flip side, Invisalign is only available for teens and adults and requires discipline because you have to wear 20 hours a day. If you have any questions about dental braces, and what option is best for you, contact one of our Area Dental Clinic dentists, Dr. Gibson or Dr. Thomas. Both dentists are certified to provide orthodontic services to adults and children, including Invisalign, and can answer any questions you have.
My dental health doesn’t affect my overall health
New studies come out every day linking poor oral health to health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. With your mouth being the gateway to your body, it’s no wonder that bacteria gain entrance to your body orally. What is surprising is that poor oral health can create a climate ripe for bacteria to enter and cause problems in other parts of your body. And that same cause-and-effect also works in reverse: your dentist can tell if you have conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure by simply looking in your mouth.
So how can you maintain good oral health? Use these general guidelines:
- Brush twice a day, or 30 minutes after every meal.
- Floss once a day.
- Visit your dentist every six months.
- Contact your dentist if you pain in your mouth, gums or teeth to get treatment for potential problems.
Teach your kids to brush and floss early so they can establish a solid brushing and flossing routine and maintain good oral health. Find tips on how to teach your kids, and make it fun and enjoyable, in our recent blog post. Don’t forget to take those tips for good oral health to heart. Scheduling a regular visit with your dentist can protect it.
Do you have any other dental myths you have questions about? Ask us via email or on our Facebook page. We’ll help you crack through the myths, so you have the latest and the right information you need to keep your mouth healthy.