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Five Dental Myths Debunked

Sometimes it is difficult to discern fact from fiction, this remains true for dental issues as well. Here are five dental myths, debunked.

 

Myth # 1 – Decaying Baby Teeth Are No Big Deal

Fact: Decaying baby teeth can affect permanent crowns.

One common myth is that losing a baby tooth because of decay is inconsequential because we lose our baby teeth anyway. However, decaying baby teeth can cause damage to the permanent crowns that are still developing and have yet to erupt. The premature loss of baby teeth can cause the permanent teeth to erupt in the wrong place, which leads to the need for orthodontics later.

If you've been avoiding taking your child to the dentist because you're worried about how they'll react, check out this article with tips to make sure your kid's dental visit goes smoothly.

 

Myth # 2 – Osteoporosis Only Affects the Hips and Spine

Fact: Osteoporosis can lead to the loss of teeth.

The facial bone holds the teeth in the jaw and this bone can be affected by osteoporosis; therefore, the jaw suffers the consequences of a poor diet that lacks essential nutrients including the vitamins D and K, as well as the mineral calcium. The lips, gums, jawbone, hard and soft palates continually replenish themselves; hence, a good diet is necessary to keep the mouth’s supporting structures in peak condition.

 

Myth # 3 – The Main Cause of Tooth Decay is Sugar

Fact: Although sugar consumption can cause cavities, it is not the main cause of tooth decay.

While sugar is the catalyst, the acids from bacteria are responsible for causing cavities. There are good bugs and bad bugs in the mouth. Bad bugs refer to an unhealthy transformation of the natural bacteria in the mouth.  Bad bugs form as we digest carbohydrates, such as refined sugar; however, some healthy foods are also carbohydrates, i.e., fruits, grains and vegetables. The acid produced by these bad bugs combine with the saliva and form plaque. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the length of time sugar remains in the mouth does affect its ability to promote tooth decay. For example, mints and candy that dissolve slowly increase the amount of time that the bad bugs’ harmful acids have contact with the teeth.

 

Myth # 4 – Adults Do Not Need to Worry About Tooth Decay

Fact: Receding gums frequently cause the roots of teeth to decay; furthermore, commonly used medications can increase an adult’s risk of tooth decay.

Gum recession is a common issue for adults because it can be caused by many things and it happens gradually (making it difficult for some folks to notice it's happening). Some chronic health conditions also affect an individual’s dental health. For instance, type 2 diabetes doubles an individual’s risk of developing periodontal disease.

Medications that reduce saliva production affect the mouth’s ability to cleanse itself, thus allowing harmful bacteria to damage the teeth. These medications can include antihistamines, diuretics, sedatives and antidepressants.

 

Myth # 5 – You Need to Brush Your Teeth Directly After a Meal

Fact: After a meal, you should wait approximately an hour before brushing your teeth.

There are certain drinks and acidic foods that will temporarily soften the enamel. Consequently, brushing while your enamel is soft can cause it to erode further. If you consume carbohydrates or acidic foods, take a moment to rinse your mouth with water after the meal. Acidic foods and drinks include citrus fruit, green apples, pickles, juice and soda. Carbohydrates include bread, cake, potatoes, dried fruit, yogurt and nuts.

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