Misconceptions about oral health and proper dental care abound. Unfortunately, misleading information can be harmful to your teeth and gums. That's why it's important to know the facts when it comes to your dental health.
You don't need dental checkups if your teeth look healthy.
False. It doesn't matter what your age, the American Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist at list once or twice a year. Your teeth may look fine to you, but not all dental problems are easily visible or detectable. Regular dental checkups can also help find other health problems before you experience symptoms and the condition becomes more serious.
You won't have dental problems if you come from a long line of healthy teeth.
False. While genetics may have some part in whether you have good or bad teeth, your dental hygiene habits play a significant role. Heredity may determine if you harbor more or less of the harmful oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease; however, routine dental care and good oral hygiene help keep your teeth and gums healthy. That being said, even if you start out with healthy teeth, they can go bad if you neglect them.
Although gingivitis and periodontitis generally are caused by poor oral hygiene, heredity can make you more susceptible to gum disease. However, regular dental visits lead to early detection and treatment.
You should still brush your teeth even if your gums are bleeding.
True. Bleeding gums often are an early sign of gum disease. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque that can inflame your gums and cause them to bleed. Brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing them once every day helps prevents bleeding gums. See your dentist if bleeding continues.
Brushing your teeth too often can harm tooth enamel.
False. While frequent tooth brushing won't hurt tooth enamel, other brushing habits may. Always brushing your teeth in the same direction, using a hard-bristle toothbrush, or brushing your teeth too soon after eating can wear down tooth enamel. To avoid problems, don't brush your teeth only in one direction. Brushing them horizontally, vertically, and in circles removes more plaque and puts less wear on tooth enamel. Brushing with a toothbrush that has soft nylon bristles also goes easier on your teeth and gums. Brushing too vigorously with a hard-bristled brush can damage tooth enamel and the roots of teeth.
While it's good practice to brush after every meal, the acids in some foods and beverages soften tooth enamel. Experts suggest waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. Drink a glass of water after eating to help wash away the acids until you can brush.
Don't schedule dental appointments while you are pregnant.
False. Pregnancy is all the more reason to continue seeing your dentist for regular checkups. Tell your dentist you are pregnant so that he or she watches for dental problems that can occur during pregnancy. Hormonal changes often contribute to gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease, or pregnancy tumors -- non-cancerous tissue growths between the teeth that usually appear during the second trimester.
Poor dental hygiene habits when you have diabetes makes it more likely you'll get gum disease.
True. Diabetes increases your risk for all kinds of infections, including gum infections. Once you have gum disease, it can interfere with your body's ability to use insulin. That's not good for your health since it's harder to manage your diabetes if your blood sugar levels are out of control.
For more information, contact a dentist like those at Associated Family Dentistry LTD.