Ever since my days as a Dental student, I have observed that most people do not look forward to seeing the dentist. And as a lover of good movies, even the good old action flicks have succeeded in portraying dentists as sinister characters; playing on the fear many people may have of seeing one and getting dental care.
Few years on and still in the practise, this perception still persists. Studies about the most loved or hated professions are often not kind to dentists.
While it’s true that visiting the dentist isn’t exactly at the top of things I do for fun, it usually isn’t that bad. Understanding the facts about your teeth can make visits to the dentist more bearable.
So here are my top ten of dental myths as observed in the course of practise:
MYTH 1; Whiter teeth are healthier teeth.
FACT: most times, my patients tend to think that they would look better with whiter teeth but teeth aren’t meant to be pure white. Brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste and flossing helps keep the teeth as white as possible. Avoiding food and drinks that causes staining such as tea, coffee and red wine will also help to keep them white.
MYTH 2; Dental cleaning will make my teeth whiter.
FACT: Professional dental cleaning removes food debris, plaque, calculi as well as stains from tea, coffee and red wine making the teeth cleaner. You may wish to discuss with your dentist if you want to whiten your teeth.
MYTH 3; the only cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene.
FACT: The majority of bad breath is caused by poor brushing which leads to gum disease. Other causes of bad breath include smoking, systemic diseases like diabetes, large dental infections or abscesses.
MYTH 4; there is no need to brush milk teeth.
FACT: Instituting good habits early in life helps ensure life-long dental health. Brush your baby’s teeth twice daily from the moment the first tooth is seen in the mouth.
MYTH 5; I shouldn’t brush my teeth if my gums are bleeding.
FACT: bleeding gums are often caused when plaque and food debris is not properly removed by regular brushing and flossing. Healthy gums don’t bleed. Proper brushing and flossing twice a day will help correct this. If bleeding continues, see your dentist.
MYTH 7; A hard bristled toothbrush is best for cleaning the teeth.
FACT: brushing too rigorously with hard bristled toothbrush may cause teeth wear leading to sensitivity. A soft or medium bristled with the right technique of brushing will best clean the teeth.
MYTH 8; Chewing gum is bad for your teeth.
FACT: this is my favourite myth. Chewing gum of any kind increases saliva production which helps to clean the teeth. However chewing sugar-free gums in addition to cleaning also discourage the growth of bacteria that cause tooth cavities.
MYTH 9; I do not have any dental pain. Regular dental visits are not necessary for me.
FACT: routine visits and dental checks are necessary. Finding and treating dental problems when small and do not cause pain is a more bearable, comfortable and less expensive way to take care of your teeth.
MYTH 10; Avoid all dental treatment during pregnancy.
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