Fact or Fiction? Five Popular Tooth Myths Debunked
Forget the tooth fairy! Far too many tales are being told about teeth and it's time to clear the air. Popular
claims that range from scary to wacky and everything in between are about to be debunked. Find out if you've been acting on bad advice.
1. "White teeth are healthy teeth."
Pearlier does not necessarily mean healthier. In some instances, extremely white teeth can signal a lack of calcium or an excessive intake of fluorides. Whitening ingredients integrated in many toothpaste and mouthwash products can also create the image of perfection, but don't let your brighter smile deceive you. Just beyond the surface may lurk cavities, gum disease and other dental issues.
2. "Pregnant women should hold off on dental care until after the baby is born."
On the contrary, getting regular professional dental care, if not increasing the number of visits, is strongly encouraged during this time. According to the American Dental Association, pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis, a condition caused by an infection of the gums that can result in bleeding, sensitivity and loss of tooth support. "Pregnancy tumors", or mulberry-shaped lumps between the teeth can also emerge, although they are non-cancerous. They should go away after pregnancy, but can also be removed by an aesthetician.
Pregnant women should be sure to inform their dentist of their pregnancy so treatment plans can be adjusted accordingly. Certain procedures and medications may be tabled to avoid any risks to the baby's health.
3. "Food that is too hot or cold will crack your teeth."
Yes, cracks or "craze lines" can be a result of extreme temperature changes absorbed by your teeth, but these are typically too shallow to pose a major threat to your oral health. If you do spot a crack, it's always wise to have a dentist look at it; in the rare instance that the crack is a deep one, chewing can cause it to widen and expose sensitive nerves.
4. "Don't worry too much about brushing baby teeth, because they fall out anyway."
Yes, baby teeth eventually fall out — but passing poor dental habits on to your child can cause a lifetime of oral health problems. Teaching your child to brush and floss regularly can save him or her from painful cavities and gum disease now and in the future.
5. "Bleaching your teeth is bad for you."
Nowadays, in-office bleaching services use PH neutral solutions that are perfectly safe for your teeth. The treatment may cause tooth sensitivity, but only temporarily. If anything, it is the popular whitening trays bought over the counter that may prove problematic; prolonged immersion of the teeth in highly concentrated gels can cause lasting trauma.
There is always a chance that an element of truth exists in the things you hear, but unless the advice comes from your dentist, don't let it impact your approach to oral care. Get a professional opinion on dental matters or questions that interest you during your next appointment, or if you're pressed for time, call your dentist for immediate clarification.