Dental care is often looked over and ignored by many people. This can be a result of many factors including lack of knowledge, ignorance or even silly misconceptions. So, to help you understand dental care and dental anatomy better, Dr. Divya Mehra, MDS in Prosthodontics and Crown & Bridge debunks the top 10 most common misconceptions a majority of people have in relation to Dental hygiene and oral care.
Myth #1 “Scaling .ie. professional teeth cleaning loosens the existing teeth.”
Scaling once in 6 months is required even if you have no complaints. Bleeding from the gums while brushing is one of the earliest indications that you need professional teeth cleaning.
Temporary gaps or loosening of the teeth may be experienced immediately after the cleaning process. But it settles in a day or two. Loosening of teeth happens only if the tartar deposited around the teeth has done considerable damage to the supporting structures.
Myth #2 “Losing one tooth will not change anything. I have 27 other teeth!”
Each tooth has its significance. Losing one tooth will affect the position of the teeth adjacent and opposite to it and those, in turn, will affect the teeth adjacent to them. Changes are seen over the years but the damage caused is hard to undo and costs a lot of time and money. Hence the option to replace the tooth should be discussed even before you plan the removal of a tooth.
Myth #3 “Removing a tooth can weaken your eyesight!”
There is no correlation between your eyesight and your teeth. The current techniques and instruments available for removal of teeth make the procedure almost painless and have very little post-procedure complications. They have absolutely no effect on your eyesight!
Myth #4 “No pain means no problem.”
This is one of the most common misconceptions people have. Dental pain usually starts when the decay has gone to the deeper layers. That means when the disease has progressed to advanced stages, which makes the treatment more expensive, time-consuming, and painful.
Routine dental checkup helps to detect caries at an early stage. If ignored, such small decay may continue to spread to the deeper layers causing sensitivity and eventually, lead to pain in the future. Moreover, treating them later might result in longer and time consuming procedures like a root canal.
No pain doesn’t mean there is no decay. The tooth does not repair itself; it needs to be treated even if the decay is very small.
Myth #5 “They are just milk teeth, they’ll fall.”
It is not just a Baby tooth! A baby’s primary teeth are the best space maintainers for their permanent teeth. The baby teeth guide the underlying permanent teeth into erupting in their ideal position. If they are lost prematurely, the space for the permanent teeth is disturbed which in turn will result in malpositioning of the permanent teeth requiring Orthodontic treatment (Dental Braces) in the future which can be time-consuming and expensive.
If at all a baby tooth is lost early, your dentist can secure the space for the future by giving fixed space maintainers. Besides, healthy and white teeth affect your child’s confidence big time!
Myth #6 The harder you brush, the cleaner the teeth!
Another common misconception is that applying more strength while brushing will clean the teeth better. Contrary to this belief, you end up grinding off the enamel, which is the protective layer of the tooth, eventually making the teeth more sensitive and prone to decay. Thus it’s not the pressure that matters but the duration of brushing decides the cleanliness.
You can also try to play your favorite songs for 2 minutes and stop brushing as the song stops. This can be taught to the kids to have enough duration of brushing.
Myth #7 “To clean the last tooth, you must open as wide as you can.”
This one’s a little odd. But in reality, to reach the last tooth in your mouth you need to close your mouth a little so that the cheek muscles are relaxed and allow the head of the brush to reach the posterior-most surface of your last tooth. When you open your mouth wide, your cheek muscles become extra tight and push the head of the brush inward making it difficult to clean the teeth.
Myth #8 “Because of aging, my teeth have become weak.”
This one may come as a surprise to many. But, If you have taken good care of your teeth and gums when you were young your teeth will be healthy even as you grow old.
Unless you have been through some major health issues like cancer or kidney failure, your teeth will stay put and will help you eat. Hence, routine dental checkups and follow-ups are a must throughout life, at least twice a year so that your teeth accompany you even as you get old.
Myth #9 “Only old people have gum problems”
Bleeding is one of the earliest signs of gum problems. This can happen to young adults as well. Red, swollen gums that bleed easily indicate the need to visit a dentist.
Regular dental checkup and scaling can help keep a check on your gum problem. If ignored, gum problems progress over the years and eventually lead to more complex dental problems like loosening of teeth or falling off of healthy teeth
Myth #10 “Braces are only for kids”
Although kids and teenagers most commonly undergo the orthodontic treatment to achieve well-aligned teeth. Even adults who could not get themselves treated as kids can undergo the treatment.
Invisalign and clear aligners now allow you to undergo orthodontic treatment without braces. They give the liberty to remove them if required during eating, speaking, or any other occasion.
So here we are! With the top 10 misconceptions out of your way to healthy teeth and gums. Wish to know more about dental care and oral hygiene? Stay connected with the Nth Sense for more such interesting blogs and healthcare tips by doctors and healthcare experts.
Dr Divya Mehra
BDS , MDS Prosthodontics and Crown & Bridge