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Five Dental Myths…BUSTED!

Can you handle the truth?  Good, because we are here to set the record straight on oral health care!  There are some widely held, but false, ideas about dental health out there.  Some are silly, but some could lead to potential problems down the road. We decided to debunk five common dental myths and discuss the right way to keep your teeth clean and healthy.

Myth: The harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be.

Brushing your teeth regularly is important–twice a day for two minutes–however brushing harder doesn’t mean you’re brushing better.  In fact, brushing too hard with an abrasive brush or toothpaste can erode enamel and push back the gums. That’s why we recommend using a soft-bristled electric toothbrush.  

A quick refresher on proper brushing technique: move the toothbrush with short strokes and a polishing motion and use the full two minutes to make sure you’ve thoroughly and gently brushed all your teeth surfaces.  A good rule of thumb: if you’re squashing your toothbrush bristles into your teeth and gums, you’re pushing too hard.

Myth:  Tooth decay is caused mostly by sugar.

While too much sugar can lead to cavities, it isn’t the only culprit.  Starchy carbohydrates like chips and crackers are just as harmful to your teeth as candy.  These carbohydrates also have sugars which can break down the teeth. It’s even worse for your teeth when starchy snacks stick to the teeth as this creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.  Follow a healthy diet where you eat lots of fruits and veggies and protein and your teeth will be happy. For more tips, see our blog post from last November for foods and drinks that can benefit your teeth!

Myth:  Gum disease is only a problem for your teeth.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, your oral health is an important part of your overall health.  As Dr. Brunacini discussed on the blog last month, the health of your mouth can affect your body’s other systems.  Case in point, gum disease has been linked to diabetes and hypertension.  In fact, research has shown that when people with diabetes keep their blood sugar under control, their gum disease symptoms improve as well.  It’s important to have your dentist be a part of your healthcare team and come in for regular cleanings and checkups. We believe in a holistic approach to dentistry with the whole body and whole person in mind. Here’s to happy smiles and healthy bodies!

Myth:  If your gums bleed when you floss, you should leave them alone.

Bleeding is a sign of inflammation and that your gums need attention.   If you’re experiencing this symptom, come in for a checkup and cleaning.  We can help determine if you have gum disease or a more serious condition that requires more attention.  For most minor bleeding, daily flossing and proper brushing can help improve the health of your gums and the bleeding will eventually go away.  

Myth:  If you brush and floss regularly, and nothing is bothering you, then you don’t need to see the dentist.

Regular dental check-ups are an important part of oral health care.  Often dentists can help prevent problems before you have painful symptoms.  For example, if you wait until a cavity hurts, you may then need a root canal or extraction rather than a simple filling.  With regular check-ups, we can help patients maintain their good oral health, as well as screen for early signs of problems such as cavities and oral cancer.  Our mission is to build partnership with all our patients so they are connected to quality dental care and compassionate dental professionals. Let’s work together to keep you smiling and healthy!

If you need a possible dental myth busted or have questions about dental best practices, give us a call at 207.781.5900.  We’ll always give you the facts and provide the best oral health care possible!

 

*Image courtesy of www.pctechmag.com