What are the top 10 dental misconceptions about oral health?

Your oral health is vital to your overall health. While everyone wants to take good care of their mouths, we often hear questions from patients (and friends) about brushing, flossing, gum disease, and oral health in general.   Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile. If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.  Okotoks dental office Crystal Smiles will explain some of the most common dental misconceptions.

Dental Misconception #1:  Dental Health Is not important to overall health

Yes, the mouth is only a small part of the body, but you would be surprised how essential oral health can be for overall health. The interesting thing is that one can affect the other: your oral health can be an indicator of your overall health, and your overall health can be affected by your oral health.

Dental Misconception #2:  My teeth are fine if I have no pain

Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe. Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our dentists can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.

Dental Misconception #3:  Gum Disease isn’t really a serious health problem

A lot of people shrug off gum disease because they either think it’s not a huge problem, or it’s easily treatable. Yes, both of these are true if gum disease is caught and treated during the early stages. The problem is that, during the early stages, there is virtually no symptoms other than some light bleeding. Most people attribute this to brushing too hard. The fact is, gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis can cause damage to gums and teeth, which will lead to more serious health problems.

Dental Misconception #4:  Cavities are only caused by sweets

When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid. This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities. However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate. Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.

Dental Misconception #5:  Bad Breath is always caused by poor oral hygiene

People often equate bad breath with bad oral hygiene, and if the cause of your bad breath is rotten teeth, inadequate brushing or a build-up of bacteria in your mouth, then yes, practicing good oral hygiene can solve your bad breath problems.

However, if you notice that you still have bad breath even after you’ve brushed, flossed and gargled mouthwash, then your bad breath can be a symptom of a more serious health issue. Pneumonia, liver problems, sinus infections and diabetes are some of the more serious health conditions that can cause bad breath.

Dental Misconception #6:  If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continuing to brush and floss.

Dental Misconception #7:  Daily brushing and flossing means being able to skip the dentist

This is an excuse more than a misconception. Yes, going to the dentist can seem like an annoying and expensive chore, and many people often strive to get out of doing this by brushing and flossing religiously. They believe that because they are performing the right actions, they can get away with the yearly dental checkups.

However, like going to your general health practitioner, going to the dentist isn’t something that you should do only when you’re feeling something wrong with your oral health. Whether or not you are feeling something wrong with your dental health, you should get regular checkups from your dentist just to make sure everything is working fine.

Dental Misconception #8:  Whiter teeth are healthier teeth

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth. Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.

Dental Misconception #9:  Children are more prone to tooth decay

Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age. People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age.

Dental Misconception #10:  You will always be aware of dental health problems

Many people associate dental problems with pain, and they believe that’s when they’ll know what they are having dental issues. However, the problem with many dental problems is that you won’t really notice that they’re there until they’re already painful (and expensive to treat). Cavities, for example, pop up because you’re not brushing properly, and you’re not hitting a certain area in your teeth. Over time, bacteria builds up and creates a cavity, and you’re left surprised because you’ve been brushing all this time! This only reinforces the idea that a yearly dental check-up is necessary, whether or not you think you have a dental issue.

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception. It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our Okotoks, Alberta dentist.