Let’s separate fact from fiction. Here are the top five myths about oral care:
Myth #1: I shouldn’t floss because it makes my gums bleed.
The Fact: Having bleeding gums means you have gingivitis, aka gum inflammation, and luckily, it’s reversible and treatable! How? By flossing and, most likely, getting a cleaning at the dental office.
Myth #2: If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not a cavity.
The Fact: The outer layer of your tooth is enamel—it has no nerve endings, which means you can’t feel anything when there’s a hole in your enamel. But you will feel pain when the decay passes through the dentin layer, which has nerve endings, underneath the enamel. In other words, by the time it hurts, the cavity’s gone deep.
Myth #3: I won’t get cavities because I don’t eat sugar.
The Fact: Yes, prolonged sugar exposure is bad for your teeth and will indeed increase the likelihood of cavities. But it’s not just candy and cookies—starchy, savory foods like crackers and potato chips also reduce to sugars in your mouth. If you don’t brush after eating, whether or not you had a dessert, your chance of getting cavities is still higher than if you did brush consistently and thoroughly.
Myth #4: I don’t need to go to a dentist because I’m not in pain.
The Fact: Many dental conditions don’t hurt: periodontal disease, cavities, oral cancer, and more. If you don’t get your routine dental checkup, you won’t get diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. What could have been affordable and routine care becomes expensive and invasive treatment.
Myth #5: Getting my tooth pulled is better than getting a root canal treatment.
The Fact: Root canal treatments sound mystifying, but they are common routine procedures that drastically improve your oral health. The inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected before getting sealed with a natural rubber-like material called gutta percha. As a dentist, I’d rather get the root canal treatment and have my own tooth over getting a bridge or implant. Keeping your tooth is better for you in the long run because your natural tooth has a ligament that acts like a natural shock absorber.
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