There are many dental myths, deeply rooted in our culture and frequently repeated, which can endanger our oral health, and hinder us from obtaining proper dental care. Let’s look at the most popular myths:
“My parents have periodontitis so I will inherit this disease too”
Periodontitis is not a condition commonly inherited from parents. Statistically, only 8% of the population has any genetic predisposition to the disease. The main cause of periodontitis is incorrect dental hygiene or dental crowding. People who use the wrong brushing technique, who forget to floss or who do not address their dental crowding are the most susceptible.
The small percentage of patients at risk because of genetics may delay the onset of the disease and even slow its progression through regular dental check-ups and with proper care. The treatment of crowded dentition and the correction of the occlusion (bite) with the help of orthodontics can also aid in prevention.
“Scaling makes my gums and teeth more sensitive”
Some people avoid scaling because they believe it results in tooth sensitivity or scratches the enamel. Scaling, often using ultrasound, focuses on dislocating tartar deposits and does not affect the tooth enamel. It is possible that sensitivity may occur during scaling, but this only happens when the hygienist removes harmful tartar below the level of the gum. The sensitivity is temporary, lasting a couple of days at most, and can be reduced and often removed completely by applying anesthetic spray. Tartar build-up over long periods of time can cause gingival retraction, root discoloration, and consequently periodontitis. So, in reality, it is the avoidance of periodic scaling that is the cause of dental sensitivity, not the treatment itself.
“I don’t brush my teeth where my gums bleed”
Many people avoid using the toothbrush in areas where the gums bleed, unaware that the bleeding is caused by food debris and plaque in the area. This creates a chain of circumstances: we avoid cleaning the area because it bleeds, which in turn causes the gums to bleed even more because we do not brush. It is recommended to continue brushing and flossing exactly where the gums bleed. If the bleeding does not go away in spite of proper hygiene, dental check-ups are necessary to detect and rule out other causes, including gingivitis, areas that retain food debris, and dental plaque, which are irritating to the gums.
“It is more important to brush my teeth in the morning than in the evening”
Although it may be more convenient to believe the opposite, the most important brushing is in the evening, because the bacteria grow best in heat, darkness and humidity. If, in addition to these conditions in the mouth, the bacteria feed all night with leftover food between the teeth, they will multiply excessively, break down the food into acids and release toxins harmful to the teeth and gums. Thus, the risk of caries, gingivitis and periodontitis increases greatly.
“A toothpick is useful for cleaning teeth”
Although it is a common technique for cleaning teeth, the use of toothpicks is extremely harmful no matter how gently they are used. A toothpick can scratch the gums and even cause the gum to detach from the tooth. If toothpicks are used frequently, over time the gums will start to recede, without ever being able to grow back. In some cases, the toothpick pushes some of the food left between the teeth even deeper under the gums. Flossing is much more efficient, less harmful and recommended daily before bed. Handled carefully, flossing will not injure the gums and will reduce the risk of caries and periodontitis.
Although the internet is a useful source of information in some cases, and friends or family members wish us well, when we believe unverified information about oral care, we risk doing more harm than good. Don’t forget that regular visits to the dentist, professional hygiene services and personalized treatment can prevent most oral diseases.
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