Baby teeth aren’t important; tooth loss is a part of aging; or, dental disease only affects your teeth…are just a few commonly held dental myths. I know what you may be thinking, how does this affect me? Well whether you are a tooth enthusiast or feel that oral hygiene isn’t the most important aspect of your body, the reality is that your teeth are pretty important when it comes to daily living.
Taking trips to the dentist aren’t always fun, but since April is Oral Health Month, the British Columbia Dental Association released some pretty interesting dental health facts to help many people prevent oral disease and enjoy better health through the ages.
Myth 1: Dental health doesn’t affect my overall health
The mouth is an integral part of your body and is important to your overall health and well-being. Your mouth is a vital part of your ability to chew food; communicate and socialize; and even smile—a healthy mouth helps you to feel good about yourself. Studies continue to link inflammation in the mouth with other inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Taking good care of your mouth helps to keep your body healthy.
Myth 2: Baby teeth are not important, they just fall out
Baby teeth play a significant role in your child’s health and development. They facilitate speech, support nutrition, and help to preserve space in the jaw for permanent adult teeth. Dental issues are common in young children and can lead to pain and infection, along with trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating and emotional distress—feeling bad about the way they look. Establishing healthy dental habits from an early age, including regular dental exams starting at the age of one, can set a child up for a lifetime of good oral health.
Myth 3: If I’m not in pain, I don’t need to see the dentist
In dentistry an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure; dental disease can be prevented but cannot be reversed. To prevent dental disease you want to see a dentist before you experience any pain. Through regular dental examinations your dentist will monitor the health of your teeth and soft tissues to identify any issues early to stop the progression of disease and lead to better health outcomes.
Myth 4: Brushing alone will clean my teeth
While brushing your teeth twice daily, especially before bed, is an important part of maintaining good oral health, brushing alone is not enough to completely remove harmful bacteria. Professional dental cleanings remove additional plaque and tartar buildup to protect against cavities and gum disease. Also, don’t forget to floss daily to clean between the teeth; if you’re only brushing, you’re only cleaning about two-thirds of the tooth’s surface.
Myth 5: Tooth loss is part of aging
Tooth loss is not inevitable; more people are keeping their natural teeth for a lifetime. Losing your natural teeth can affect your nutrition, enjoyment of a variety of foods, lead to slurred speech and reduce self-esteem. Keep your teeth for a lifetime by continuing to practice good dental care at home and plan ahead for all your extended health care needs, including dental exams (even if you wear dentures) and cleanings to prevent disease.
Dental disease is largely preventable. If you brush and floss daily, limit your sugary drink and snack intake, don’t smoke and have a regular dental examination, you have a greater chance of diagnosing a problem before it becomes more complex and sometimes costly.