Myths about dental care

Myths about dental care

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.

We’re waiting for you in our office 😊

How a dental check-up may save your life

How a dental check-up may save your life

Most diseases of the teeth and gums can be cured.  At the same time, there are other diseases of the body which affect oral health and can be detected in a single visit to the dentist. You will be amazed to find out that a regular dental check-up may end up saving your life.

Here are some of the diagnoses a dentist can make:

  1. Heart disease.

Tooth loss can be an important clue, according to a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota. A link between heart disease and some dental problems has been established by previous studies, but more recent ones suggest that bacteria which cause gum infection can also inflame blood vessels. Early signs of heart disease include bleeding gums, bad taste in the mouth, bad breath or abscesses. In more advanced stages, the teeth weaken and begin to fall out.

  1. High blood pressure

Without visible symptoms, hypertension often goes undetected, but can lead to strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease. Inflammation of the gums is a good indicator of hypertension. In North America, many dentists monitor the blood pressure of their patients. 

  1. Premature birth

Gum disease during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of giving birth prematurely, as it increases the secretion of prostaglandins (the hormones that induce labor). In such cases, a simple dental check-up may reduce the risk of giving birth prematurely. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that properly treating gum disease can substantially reduce the risk of premature birth.

  1. Diabetes

Gum disease, infections, hard-to-heal ulcers, a swollen tongue or dry mouth may be indications of diabetes, diagnosed or not. Diabetics are prone to canker sores, which a dentist can often easily identify.

  1. Pregnancy

Bleeding or swollen gums may be the first signs of pregnancy. Hormonal changes in expectant mothers make their gums swell more easily, a condition known as pregnancy-induced gingivitis. Pregnant women are encouraged to go to the dentist for treatment.

  1. Eating Disorders

If you suffer from bulimia or anorexia, you can’t hide it from the dentist, because these diseases destroy the tooth enamel. Although eating disorders are most common in young women, the symptoms are sometimes seen in men as well.

  1. Avitaminosis, cirrhosis or HIV infection

A swollen tongue, an unusual sensation in the mouth or a strange taste can be caused by deficiencies of vitamin B, iron or zinc. If your tongue hurts, you may not have any concerns, but this may indicate a lack of vitamins that are quite difficult to identify. The sensation of pain can be an indication of more serious problems – liver cirrhosis or even HIV infection. Ulcers that are difficult to heal may also indicate herpes, canker sores, tuberculosis or syphilis.

  1. Vascular diseases

Dry mouth or a strange taste may be signs of anemia. Your doctor may also tell you that you have a blockage of your salivary glands or diabetes. Swollen gums may be a sign of leukemia.

  1. Oral cancer

If you detect unusual ulcers or abnormal swelling in the mouth, the dentist’s advice is to go to the doctor. There is a slim chance it could be oral cancer, a disease most often diagnosed by dentists. Oral cancer can be located on the tongue, lips, and under the tongue.

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis

Pain or immobility of the mandible (lower jaw bone) could indicate diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or some forms of lupus.

Our advice is not to wait for any signs of problems in your oral cavity and schedule regular appointments with the dentist, every 4-6 months. Remember that nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing!

We’re waiting for you in our office 😊