If you asked a cross section of the community what they feared most, going to the dentist would be high up on the list. However, how often you have to go to the dentist and the likelihood of having a complicated procedure can be minimised by taking good care of your dental health on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of persistent myths about what you need to do to maintain good oral health – and some of them could even be causing lasting damage to your teeth. Read the list below to see if you’ve fallen prey to one or more old wives’ tales.
- Sugar is the #1 public enemy of teeth. If you’re known as a sweet tooth, you’ve probably been told this myth regularly throughout your life. But it’s not sugar per se that's the problem – it's carbohydrates in general. And that means things like potato chips are worse for your teeth – they'll break down into sugar in your mouth but, worse, they'll also stick to your teeth and get caught in the gaps.
- Going to the dentist is always painful. It’s not the 19th Century anymore! The latest dental practices and technologies are designed to make your trip to the dentist as comfortable and painless than ever before.
- Baby teeth don’t matter. Because they fall out eventually, many parents are of the opinion a child with baby teeth don’t need to get dental check-ups. But baby teeth play a vital role in how your adult teeth grow and look, plus they help with appropriate nutrition and speech development. Book your child for regular dental check-ups to make sure their teeth are creating a great foundation for future health.
- Brush harder for a better clean. This is a big no-no. Today's abrasive toothpaste and harder toothbrushes can be damaging to your toothy-pegs enamel, wearing away the protective surface that stops cavities and decay within. Make sure you use a softer toothbrush and go easy on the pressure.
- If you’ve got bad breath, you’ve got gum disease. Bad breath is sign of lots of potential health issues, not just gum disease. It can also be related to a wide range of digestive issues, from acid reflux to bowel disease. To be sure, get a dental check-up – your dentist can tell you if your mouth gets a clean bill of health. If you do, you’ll want to follow up with your GP to investigate other causes.
- Stop flossing and brush less often if your gums bleed. When bacteria and plaque get trapped between your teeth, it can cause gum inflammation, which in turn can cause them to bleed when you brush or floss. Bleeding after flossing is a sign you have an underlying issue – keep going on a daily basis, and the inflammation will decrease.
- The problems of gum disease are only restricted to your mouth. Oral problems can affect your entire system. And that makes sense when you think of your mouth as the gateway for bacteria to travel through your digestive system, and from there into your blood. The truth is, you’re more likely to get colds, diabetes, hypertension and some forms of cancer if you leave the inflammation in your gums untreated. Never ignore issues like bleeding and sensitivity – for your overall good health, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
These are just some of the prevalent myths about dental hygiene – if in doubt, ask your dentist!