7 Myths About Oral Health

Myth #1: I Don't Need To Visit the Dentist Unless it is an Emergency

It's important to see your dentist at least once a year for a check-up. A dental professional can find and treat problems before they become emergencies. If you notice any of the symptoms below, visit a dentist as soon as possible:

  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • Shifting teeth
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity to cold or hot beverages

Myth #2: My Dental Health Doesn't Affect My Overall Health

Not true. Your oral health can affect your overall health and wellness. Bacteria in the mouth can spread through the blood to other areas, including the heart, which can cause inflammation. Gum disease can increase the risk of heart disease – especially in people with diabetes.

Myth #3: Bleeding Gums Are a Natural Part of Pregnancy

Bleeding gums are a sign of an oral health problem. Although some pregnant women may develop pregnancy gingivitis, not all do. Pregnancy gingivitis can cause plaque to build up on the teeth, which can irritate the gums, causing soreness and bleeding.

To prevent bleeding gums, brush and floss twice a day. Dental cleanings will keep pregnancy gingivitis from developing into periodontal disease – a condition that can affect the overall health of the mother and baby.

If you're pregnant, notify the dental staff when you make an appointment. They will check for any oral infection that may interfere with the child's development. The dentist will ensure that your treatment will be safe for you and your baby.

Myth #4: Sugar Causes Cavities

Most people believe that sugar causes cavities. Although sugars can contribute to the development of cavities, it's not the main cause. Sticky foods or those that contain sugars can stick to the teeth, causing bacteria to develop. Bacteria produce acids which can affect tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.

Myth #5: Flossing Teeth Doesn’t Make a Difference in my Oral Health

Daily flossing is important to maintaining your oral health and is the best way to remove food particles between the teeth. Flossing also removes plaque, which may harden into tartar. Tartar must be removed by a dentist. Failure to floss can lead to oral health problems like:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Plaque and tartar build-up

Myth #6: Children with Baby Teeth Don't Need to Visit the Dentist

Baby teeth are essential to a child's development and act as guides or spacers for the developing permanent teeth. If a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, it can potentially make it difficult for permanent teeth to emerge correctly and could cause overcrowding.

If your child has cavities, it can affect how the permanent teeth develop. Additionally, any infections in a baby tooth can move to the underlying permanent tooth.

Children should see a dentist within six months after the first tooth emerges or by their first birthday so the dentist can check for potential issues.

Myth #7: Smoking Doesn't Affect My Oral Health

Smokers have a higher chance of developing numerous oral health problems compared to non-smokers. These include:

  • Bad breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Gum disease
  • Gum inflammation
  • Oral cancer
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth staining

A study from the University of Birmingham confirmed that male smokers are up to 3.6 times more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers while female smokers were found to be 2.5 times more likely.

A natural flow of saliva rinses the mouth of cavity-causing bacteria. Smoking reduces saliva flow, which increases the chance of tooth decay. Tobacco smoke also contains chemicals that can irritate the gums and the inner lining of the mouth (oral mucosa). In addition, smoking can cause cancers of the jaw, mouth, throat and tongue.

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This blog is designed to provide general information and discussions about health and dental-related subjects. No doctor/dentist to patient relationship is established by your use of this blog or website. We are not providing any treatment or diagnosis on this blog, and it is not intended to offer specific dental or medical advice to anyone. The information or other content provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional dental expertise or treatment. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own healthcare decisions, however no guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this blog. If you have questions about any of the information presented on this blog, you should consult with your dentist. The dentists at Advantage Dental+ are licensed to practice in the states of Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas and this blog is not intended to solicit patients from other states. External links may be provided on this blog as a service and convenience to our patients and other visitors to our blog. These external sites are created and maintained by other public and private organizations, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance or timeliness of any outside information.

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Gary Allen, DMD, Advantage Dental Group, P.C. | James Thommes, DDS, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Massachusetts, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health And Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Oklahoma, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Texas, P.C. | Cory White, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | John Clasen, OD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | Neil Williams, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Florida, PA