Teeth myths abound in the world. They include the legend that soda will dissolve a tooth overnight — it won’t, at least not overnight and — the story about George Washington’s wooden teeth — they were really ivory and gold.
Unfortunately, teeth myths, mostly misleading and sometimes harmful, can affect your long term dental health. Here are three of the top teeth myths.
Myth — baby teeth don’t require dental care
Children’s primary, or baby, teeth are not as strong as an adult’s. Thinner and less dense enamel makes them vulnerable to the bacteria that cause decay and cavities.
The same bacteria that decay baby teeth can migrate to the gums and attack the adult teeth forming underneath. Neglecting dental care for baby teeth because they will eventually be replaced by their adult teeth put a child’s future dental health and adult teeth at risk.
Regular dental care, including brushing, flossing, and regular exams are as important for children as for adults.
Myth — pregnant women should avoid dental exams
Concern about pain medications and their possible effect on an unborn fetus has promoted the myth that pregnant women should avoid dental exams. The assumptions behind this myth are out of date and wrong.
Dental health and physical health are closely related. Studies have shown that poor dental health can lower a person’s resistance to infection and increase their risk of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. They have also revealed a link between periodontitis and premature birth and low birth weight.
Avoiding dental exams poses risks to a woman’s overall health and to the fetus. Modern local anesthetics can manage the pain of an exam procedure without harmful effects on the mother or child.
Myth — sugar causes cavities
Bacteria causes cavities, not sugar. Sugar and other carbohydrates leave a residue on teeth after a person eats. The bacteria that cause tooth decay live on and thrive on the sugar. Bacteria then release acid which then leads to tooth decay. It’s a bit more complex than just sugar causes cavities.
Removing the residue by brushing, flossing and rinsing is the best way to prevent decay-causing bacteria from thriving in your mouth. Eliminating sugar without daily dental care does not eliminate carbohydrate residue or the bacteria that cause cavities but it does help.
Daily dental care and regular dental exams, not myths, are the best way to protect your teeth. A smile can last a lifetime with the right care.