When it comes to dental health, most adults follow the same simple rules: brush and floss regularly; and if your teeth hurt, go to a dentist. Although these are fine general guidelines, there are more things to consider when taking care of your teeth. For instance, there are several widespread misconceptions regarding dental health which can be ultimately harmful. To help set the record straight, here are some of the most common dental health myths and the truth behind them courtesy of our Orlando dentists with Thornton Park Dental Arts.
Since baby teeth are temporary, it doesn’t really matter what happens to them, right? Not exactly. Even though baby teeth won’t stay around for long, damage to the gums just might. Tooth decay and damage affect more than just individual teeth. They also affect the area around the tooth including the gums and nerves. This is why children who develop cavities in their baby teeth can lose their teeth much earlier than is natural which ultimately complicates the growth of permanent teeth. Additionally, cavities and infections can hurt! Regular dental checkups catch developing problems early before children start to experience tooth pain. Children who learn how to care for their teeth early are more likely to carry those good dental hygiene habits into adulthood.
While tooth pain is the most common sign that it’s time for a dentist visit, prevention is ultimately the best cure. Our dentists in Orlando recommend two dental appointments a year for regular cleanings and exams. Note also that many dental issues don’t cause pain right away. By the time a patient notices pain or their tooth becomes discolored, permanent damage may have already occurred. Biannual dental checkups can help increase the chances of catching potential issues in a patient's teeth before they are in need of a root canal or dental extraction.
Most of us have heard our whole lives that sugar is the leading cause of cavities, but this is only partially true. The real culprit in tooth decay is not sugar, but rather the bacteria that forms in the mouth as sucrose (sugar) breaks down. Real dental health problems only occur when sugar is allowed to remain on teeth for significant periods of time, enough to cause a buildup of plaque. This is why it’s so important to brush your teeth soon after consuming sugar, thereby reducing the occurrence of tooth-decaying bacteria.
Although most of us consider sparkling white teeth to be more aesthetically pleasing, they are not necessarily a sign of good dental health. White teeth can still develop cavities among other complications, and many things that cause teeth to become darker or develop a yellow tint — such as medications, food, drink, or natural aging — are not necessarily unhealthy. Still, many people elect to undergo teeth whitening for cosmetic reasons.
Neglecting the importance of oral health has far-reaching consequences throughout the body not just in your mouth. Severe tooth decay and gum disease can contribute to health issues such as diabetes, strokes, hypertension, and heart disease. This is because when a body is constantly battling infections in the mouth, the rest of the body’s defenses become more vulnerable. On the other hand, when done correctly, good dental habits can be one of the simplest ways to take care of your entire body.
At Thornton Park Dental Arts, our team of Orlando dentists is committed to disproving dental health myths by empowering our patients with high-quality dental services and dental health education. When it’s time to stay on top of your oral health, avoid falling for these misconceptions. Instead, practice good dental health habits and schedule a dentist appointment with us today!