Oral hygiene does more than give you a bright smile and fresh breath. It also plays a big role in your overall health, often reflecting what’s going on in the rest of your body. Despite the links between physical health and dental care, there’s still some confusion about what people should and shouldn’t do. Take a look at five dental myths and the truth behind them.
- Prevent tooth decay by avoiding all sugar.
Sugar certainly plays a role in the development of tooth decay, but it’s not the only culprit. Bacteria in the mouth produce plaque that, when left untouched, can harden into tartar. Once the plaque builds up, the naturally occurring bacteria create an acidic environment that wears away the surface of the tooth and causes cavities. This can happen when you eat carbohydrate-rich food, which includes candy, pasta and bread.
- Don’t floss bleeding gums.
Seeing blood on a toothbrush or in the sink is scary, and some people choose to cut back on dental care until the bleeding stops. Bleeding gums are a sign of gum damage usually caused by plaque buildup. The solution to this problem is better dental care with daily brushing and flossing, along with visiting your dentist for periodic checkups and professional cleanings.
- Teeth-whitening products damage tooth enamel.
The active ingredient in over-the-counter teeth-whitening products is typically either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, and both solutions are safe in the recommended dosages. However, ignoring the directions and using a whitening product too frequently can damage your enamel, and you may need to remineralize your teeth with fluoride and calcium to strengthen any spots of weakened enamel — remember that enamel can’t grow back. For the safest teeth-whitening treatment, visit a local dentist.
- Silver fillings are just as safe as other types of fillings.
The issue with silver fillings is that mercury makes up more than half of the filling material. Over time, the mercury deteriorates and leeches out, especially in the mouths of individuals who grind their teeth, chew gum or drink a lot of carbonated and hot drinks. Because mercury is linked to some autoimmune diseases, anyone who still has these fillings should consult with a dentist about removing and replacing them.
- There’s no need to take care of baby teeth.
Because children lose their first set of teeth, it may seem like a waste of time and money to take care of them. However, teaching children good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist, at an early age helps them establish important lifelong habits. Neglecting baby teeth can lead to bite problems if the teeth fall out too early, too.
Klement Family Dental has been serving the Tampa-area community for over 35 years, and the comfort and convenience we aim to provide patients are no myths! Make an appointment today to discuss any questions you might have about your oral health.