When it comes to tooth decay, there are things we hear growing up that really stick with us. These common dental myths and misconceptions can lead to costly mistakes and oral health problems if followed.
Some of these common dental myths may seem harmless, but they can be extremely dangerous to follow. Here are a few of the dental misconceptions debunked in an article published by a faculty member from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine:
Myth: Losing Baby Teeth to Poor Oral Hygiene is Fine
Some people believe that tooth decay in children isn’t anything to worry about. They believe that because the teeth will fall out anyway, it doesn’t matter. The truth is that damage and decay to baby teeth can impact the adult teeth developing under the gums.
Also, if decay leads to the premature loss of baby teeth, then the permanent teeth may not be in the right position. This could lead to a need for orthodontics later in life.
When decay occurs before a tooth has fully erupted, it is known as Early Childhood Caries. Because tooth development starts at age 6 months, tooth eruption will typically begin around age 6 years old. With the teeth coming in throughout childhood, tooth erosion and decay during this time can be very harmful to permanent adult teeth. Tooth decay early on can lead to tooth and bone loss, tooth pain, and tooth fractures.
Teeth should come in healthy and fully formed, not damaged by poor oral hygiene.
Myth: Tooth Decay Only Affects Children and Young People
False. Tooth decay is a problem that affects people of all ages. This is why people must practice proper dental hygiene throughout their life. Even with proper care, it’s possible that you may be more susceptible to tooth sensitivity, decay, and gum disease than you thought.
For example, common drugs including antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics, and sedatives can all slow the body’s natural saliva production. With a dry mouth that makes less saliva to bathe and clean your teeth, oral problems will likely increase.
In addition, our gums naturally recede with age. Receding gums can result in dental problems and increase the likelihood of decay along the roots of your teeth.
Myth: Osteoporosis Only Affects the Hips and Spine
This is also false. Osteoporosis causes the bones in your body to grow weak and brittle. Many people don’t put much thought into it, but the teeth in your mouth are anchored by your jawbone. If your jaw becomes weak or brittle due to osteoporosis or other health conditions, then it can impact your teeth.
In addition, losing one or more teeth can also weaken the jawbone even if you don’t have osteoporosis. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The bone in your jaw needs your teeth to stay healthy and your teeth need the support of your jaw.
Myth: Sugar-Free Gum is Better for Your Teeth Than Regular Chewing Gum
While sugar-free gum may not have sugar, it typically has more chemicals along with artificial sweeteners. Sugar-free chewing gum doesn’t statistically lead to as much decay as regular gum, however, the chemicals in sugar-free gum and candy can be just as harmful.
It’s important to limit sugary foods due to the risk of cavities. While it’s true that sugar causes cavities, especially with poor dental care. However, you want to be just as careful with foods labeled as sugar-free.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Whether you’re a toddler, a teenager, or an adult of any age, preventing tooth decay can’t be overlooked. Dental cavities that aren’t treated will eventually cause pain – usually at the worst possible times (holidays, weekends, or even before you go on vacation).
It’s important that you follow your dentist’s advice when it comes to proper oral hygiene. You only have one set of adult natural teeth and it’s important to care for them to the best of your ability with proper tooth brushing and flossing. Prevention is the best way to preserve your natural teeth and your lovely smile.
Our professional team is here to help answer any of your questions to ensure you have healthy teeth and the best possible dental care, starting with regular dental cleanings. Our goal for you is to improve your dental health, provide advice for oral care, and prevent enamel loss, tooth loss, and other oral health problems.
Dental screening at Cross Dentistry includes top-of-the-line technology during dental exams to see cavities in even the hardest-to-see areas. We then treat any cavities, decay, or gum disease using modern dental techniques and materials.