Dental Guides

Common Myths And Facts About How To Keep Your Teeth Healthy

There are certain things that people take for granted as fact, simply because they’ve heard it so many times. Take, for instance, the way that you take care of your teeth. When you go to the dentist, and he gives you the "shame on you" speech for not flossing, do you ever ask him to supply you with proof that it helps to delay tooth decay? Do you ever question what the real facts are? Most humans are creatures of habit, and if they are told something from early on, they typically take it as fact.

There are some common myths about how to keep your teeth healthy, and you may be shocked to learn that they’re not actually true. There are also facts, backed by solid evidence, which may surprise you. If you think you know how to care for those pearly whites, think again. You may be doing things all wrong, or even wasting time on things that won’t help at all.

Some people have a new cavity every time they go to the dentist, even after brushing twice a day and following all the other “good” tooth habits. At the same time, other people don’t floss, brush, or take care of their teeth, and they’ve never even needed a single filling. There’s no clearly identifiable reason for these individual differences, although genetics are likely to play a role.

When news surfaced recently that there isn’t any convincing empirical proof that flossing helps prevent tooth decay, or even that it works to foster good tooth health, dentists fought against it. Even when there was a talk that flossing improperly can actually harm your dental health, dental professionals still wouldn’t hear of changing their recommendations about it. Flossing is just the way things are, whether it can be proven beneficial or not.

To floss or not to floss?

For adults who have no underlying dental issues, there is little to no evidence that flossing does anything more for tooth health than brushing alone. There is no conclusive evidence that it does anything to help with dental caries, or that it has any effect on the short term problem of plaque buildup. There’s also no evidence to support that flossing may have some relation to the incidence of gingivitis. It turns out that you might not have to floss at all.

How about yearly x-rays?

Another dental myth is that having yearly X-rays is essential for good preventive tooth health. Studies show that annual X-rays do not benefit dental patients at all, yet childrens dentist Winnipeg professionals are still recommending that their patients subject themselves to the radiation once a year for good measure.

And tooth brushing?

The good news is that there’s one thing that everyone can agree on: that brushing really does work. The only problem is that it has to be done with fluoride filled toothpaste. It is the fluoride in the toothpaste that works to prevent gingivitis, break down plaque, and stave off tooth decay and cavities. The brushing itself doesn’t do much. Conspiracy theories aside, there is plenty of substantive evidence that fluoride does, in fact, prevent tooth decay.

What is the right exam time frame?

As far as whether you need dental exams every two years, the evidence is inconclusive. For people who go twice a year, the harmful nature of the polishing and scaling may do more harm than good. That hasn’t stopped most dentists from pushing for the every six-month exam recommendation.

Children and appointments

Dental sealants for children appear to be more important than regular dental visits. Preventative care for younger children is a good idea, but they might not need costly biannual visits to the dentist. Rather, it may be the use of sealants to keep the teeth healthier that improves dental health in children who have regular exams and preventative care growing up.

Is it all in the genes?

The things that are really important, and play a huge factor in tooth health, are intrinsic factors like the genetic makeup of your teeth. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the genes you were born with. If you are someone who has a ton of ridges in your teeth, you are more likely to develop caries than someone who has smooth tops. Bacteria also affect tooth health, and the transmission of bacteria from one person to another is a major cause of poor dental outcomes. Sharing things within a home, like spoons or drinks, can lead to poorer dental health outcomes passed from one generation to the next.

The truth is that when it comes to tooth health, there are few definitive answers. It isn’t clear why some people succumb to more tooth decay, even when they follow tooth health advice to the “T”. Other things are at play when it comes to our dental health, especially genetics. That doesn’t mean that if you believe things work, you should stop doing them. Paying attention to your teeth, and doing what works for you, is the best way to guide your habits and to keep your teeth healthy in the long term.

More to Read:

comments powered by Disqus