Busted! Don’t Believe These Myths About Dental Care!

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Blog by Dentists on Bloor

Regular brushing will help you maintain a set of pearly white teeth and avoid painful toothaches, while periodical trips to the dentist can also ensure that your teeth stay healthy by warning you of any potential cavities. A dentist uses specialist techniques to carry out dental procedures.

However, despite a dentist having hi-tech equipment that prevents tooth decay from spreading, many people choose to avoid dentists out of fear. There are also many myths regarding oral hygiene that confuse people and prevent them from obtaining excellent dental treatment.

To help you steer clear of these misconceptions, Dentists on Bloor has debunked some of the most widely believed myths about dental care.

Myth 1: Fluoride is harmful to you, so avoid it in your water and toothpaste. 
Many people believe that water fluoridation may cause cancer, down syndrome, and weaken bones. There is also a belief that fluoride isn’t natural, so adding it to our water supplies will not prevent tooth decay.

While fluoride exists naturally in some water supplies, myths about fluoridated water continue to persist. To set the record straight, here are proven benefits for our health by having the right amount of fluoride in our drinking water, which includes just enough to protect our teeth. 

  1. Fluoride is a mineral that if the right amount is added to drinking water, it can help strengthen teeth and help prevent cavities. In 2011, federal health officials recommended a new level of fluoride for water, which is 0.7 parts per million. 
  2. While fluoride is not medication, it is one of several examples of everyday products fortified to improve our health. Other examples include iodine added to salt, folic acid added to bread and cereals, and vitamin D, which gets added to milk. 
  3. Fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay and build healthy communities. Getting enough fluoride during our childhood is critical to strengthening our teeth over an entire lifetime. 
  4. Babies and children need fluoride to strengthen their growing teeth. The use of fluoride to prevent and control cavities is documented to be both safe and effective. Children who drink fluoridated water as their teeth grow will have stronger teeth that resist decay better over their lifetime. A 2010 study confirmed that the fluoridated water consumed as a young child makes the loss of teeth due to decay less likely forty or fifty years later.

We believe that fluoride in drinking water and toothpaste is at safe levels that will help protect and prevent dental decay. Toothpaste must be used correctly at a young age to avoid too much ingestion, which could result in fluorosis. When we provide a fluoride treatment, we prescribe it to those that are most vulnerable to tooth decay, and we apply it in a fashion that minimizes the excess intake.

Myth 2: Dental X-rays are not needed to detect tooth or gum problems.
Many people worry that dental X-ray equipment emit harmful radiation for humans. In fact, measurements of radiation transmitted during the dental radiology process show that they are no different from those to which we are exposed daily, such as boarding an aircraft, and the proximity to televisions and smoke detectors.

The frequency with which you may need X-rays will depend on your oral health. A healthy adult who hasn’t had cavities or other problems for a few years probably will not need X-rays at every dental appointment.

However, you may need X-rays more often if an unstable dental situation requires your dentist to monitor your progress. Remember that dental X-rays emit very low radiation and are an essential tool to enable the dentist to maintain control over small problems that are impossible to see with the naked eye.

For most people, an examination every six months is enough, but the frequency of your visits and X-rays will depend on your dental needs, and your dentist will guide you according to your hygiene levels.

At our clinic, we are committed to making our patients’ dental experience as safe and as comfortable as possible. We keep the radiation doses to a minimum while ensuring adequate radiological examinations and diagnoses.

Digital X-ray machines expose patients to up to eighty percent less radiation as compared to ones that use film. Less radiation is always positive, and digital X-rays are better for the environment. Films need to be developed using chemicals that aren’t earth-friendly. Also, digital images get stored on computers, so they don’t need to be copied and mailed as we can send them electronically, which reduces time. Our office has been digital for ten years for the ease of our patients, and we take x-rays only as needed to help diagnosis and treatment.

Myth 3: Only sugar causes cavities.
Patients are not always convinced when their dentists tell them they have a cavity, and it needs to get drilled. The usual response is, “But I don’t eat sugar, and I eat healthily, so how did I get a cavity?”

Sugar is undoubtedly the cavity culprit. However, candy, dessert, and soda aren’t the only suspects, as starches like bread and pasta stimulate the bacteria on teeth to produce enamel-attacking acids as well.

Myth 4: Frequent snacking will help the mouth produce saliva and ward off cavities.
Chewing indeed activates saliva flow in the mouth. Saliva is full of minerals like calcium and phosphate that can help protect enamel, so it would be reasonable to think that eating several times a day would help keep teeth healthy. But here’s the catch, constantly introducing starches and sugars into the mouth keeps acid production up, so more enamel is damaged.

However, you don’t need to give up snacks, even those that do contain natural sugars, like fruits or whole grains. The key is to limit constant grazing so that teeth have some time to recover. Also, brush your teeth regularly.

Myth 5: If you have a cavity, you will feel it.
It’s true that if tooth decay is advanced, you might feel general pain or experience it when eating something sweet, hot, or cold. But, when a cavity is forming, you might not have any symptoms at all. It makes it crucial to get regular check-ups and cleanings, even when you don’t feel any discomfort or sensitivity.

Myth 6: A child’s baby teeth can’t get cavities as they are temporary.
Any enamel, especially in young children, is prone to decay. In kids, common reasons cavities form are due to drinking sugary beverages, being exposed to cavity-causing bacteria, or not getting enough fluoride. It’s vital to limit sugary drinks and snacks and instill healthy brushing and flossing habits early on, to protect babies’ teeth. It is also essential to know that the baby teeth hold the space for the adult teeth, and the baby teeth help in the development of the jaw, which helps with speech and boosting the self-esteem of the child. Therefore, these teeth are important.

 Myth 7: Dairy products aren’t crucial for your teeth.
The calcium in cheese, milk, and yogurt help replace minerals in your teeth that might have been zapped by foods like soda and sweets, so they are helpful.

Our clinic educates patients from a very young age, and this is why we like to see patients start coming at the age of two-and-a-half-years old. We not only talk about oral hygiene but good diet habits and dietary concerns that we can help address at a young age.

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