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Busting 7 Myths about Oral Health

It's essential to know the truth about oral health because bad oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and other complications. Oral health can also impact your overall health! There tend to be many misconceptions about oral health, but it's essential you know the facts. Learn the truth behind common dental myths so you know how to take care of your teeth.

Myth #1: 'Sugar-free sodas are better for my teeth'

Just because soda is sugar-free, it doesn't mean it's harmless to your teeth. Sugar surely contributes to tooth decay and cavities, but sugar isn't the only thing. Even sugar-free sodas contain acids and carbohydrates combined with bacteria and saliva to result in plaque, also known as biofilm, buildup. If your teeth are not cleaned regularly, that plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis.

Myth #2: 'Dental health doesn't affect my overall health.'

Oral health is a good indicator of overall health, and poor oral hygiene can increase your risk for disease in other parts of your body. Moderate to advanced gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and is more prevalent among people with diabetes. Bacteria and other germs can spread from the mouth to other areas of the body via blood flow. Bacteria that spread to the heart can cause damage and inflammation.

Myth #3: 'I can wait to see the dentist until it's an emergency.'

With dental health, prevention is vital. Keeping your dental hygiene appointments and check-ups allow your dentist and dental hygienist to spot and treat issues before they become emergencies. As discussed above, you don't want to wait until your dental health affects your overall health.

Myth #4: 'Cavities in baby teeth aren't as serious as cavities in adult teeth.'

Oral health in children is essential, even if they lose their baby teeth. Tooth decay and cavities can impact how adult teeth form under the gums. Also, if kids don't learn how to take care of their teeth while they still have their baby teeth, they will be unlikely to keep good habits once they are older. So, encourage and teach your children to brush and floss daily according to a dental professional's recommendation.

Myth #5: 'Silver dental fillings aren't risky.'

"Silver" fillings are dental amalgam fillings because they are made from a combination of multiple types of metal. They are strong, durable, and long-lasting. However, dental amalgam fillings also contain small amounts of mercury. In large amounts, mercury is toxic. According to the FDA, dental amalgam fillings are safe to use in most children and adults. If you know you have sensitivities or are allergic to tin, copper and other metals, tell your dentist. They can use fillings of another material.

Myth #6: 'Gum disease isn't very common.'

Gum disease is actually widespread. According to a study for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 52 percent of people age 30 and older have gum disease. As we get older, we're naturally more susceptible to infections, including gingivitis and gum disease. For example, 64 percent of adults age 65 and older have gum disease.

Myth #7: 'Pregnant women can ignore bloody gums.'

The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that pregnancy hormones can lead to sensitive and inflamed gums. This condition has been called "pregnancy gingivitis" because dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms include red, sore, and bleeding gums.

However, gingivitis doesn't occur in all pregnant women. Brushing your teeth, cleaning between your teeth with floss, water flossers, or interdental brushes daily, and additional dental cleanings will abate bleeding gums. Preventing gingivitis from turning into gum disease is crucial for mom's and baby's health.

We've busted several myths about oral health. Keep up with your daily oral care routine and ask your dentist and dental hygienist for tips about taking care of your teeth. They'll help you sort fact from fiction.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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