Tribeca Dental Care has compiled a list of common dental misconceptions. Instead hearing from a friend of a friend, learn what professional dentists have to say.
1. People with “soft teeth” are more prone to develop cavities.
Teeth are not soft. In the contrary, they are the hardest tissue of a human body. The acid produced by bacteria erodes your enamel and creates so called “soft spots”. Despite the name, teeth are hard, even the “soft spots”. With that said, some people are more prone to cavities because the composition of their teeth, but it can also be due to brushing and diet habit.
2. Soft Teeth run in the family.
This is partially true. The mineral composition of your teeth is largely determined by genetics. Besides genetics, parents who have poor oral hygiene themselves usually fail to enforce their children to keep up proper brushing and flossing habit.
3. Chewing gum is bad for your teeth.
Chewing gums that contain sugar are bad for your teeth for the same reason why candies are bad for your teeth. However, sugar-free gums increase salivation, and is actually good for your gum. Gums that contain xylitol sweetener can even increase mineralization of your teeth, and kills harmful bacteria in your mouth.
4. Old people get “long in tooth”.
This is a fact rather than misconception. Our gums recede as we age, thus exposing the root of our teeth over time. This is especially significant in horse. That is why the saying goes “don’t look a gift horse in the teeth”. By looking at the horse’s teeth, you can approximate its age and its value, which can be rude if done in front of the gift giver.
5. Bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene.
This is not entirely true. Although poor oral hygiene does cause bad breath or halitosis, it is not the only or most common cause. Bad breath can come from gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and even psychological illness.
6. Pregnant women should avoid dental cleaning and check-up
This is the misconception with the most severe consequences if taken seriously. Pregnant women should avoid dental X-rays, but should keep up with their dental cleaning and check-up. Due to abnormal hormone level, about 50-70% pregnant women develop a condition called pregnant gingivitis. If left untreated, it can turn into periodonal diseases that are known to cause pre-mature birth and low birth weight baby.
7. Stress does not affect oral health.
Stress are known to cause periodontal problems. People who have financial problems tend to develop periodontal diseases more often than people who don’t.
8. No pain, no cavity.
Cavity does not always lead to pain, especially in the beginning when micro-cavity is forming. In addition to cavities, a surprising number of dental related diseases don’t always lead to pain. So you should always check in with your dentist every six months to spot a problem early on before it starts to cause pain.
9. Germ free mouth is a healthy mouth.
No matter how hard you try, you can never eliminate all the germs in your mouth. But worry not, some germs are actually good for you. The good germs keep the bad germs in check by competing for nutrients and oxygen. If you kill off all the good germs, the bad germs will take over and cause dental diseases.
10. Fluoridated water is unsafe.
While fluoride is toxic in large quantity, the fluoride in water is considered safe to drink. Fluoride poisoning usually happens when children accidentally ingested improperly stored fluoride tablets.