Brushing away myths about dental hygiene

If you are familiar with the tooth fairy, chances are you’ve heard of some of the other common myths that arise around teeth and dental hygiene. Knowing the difference between fact and myth can help you maintain a healthy smile.


Myth: Baby (primary) teeth are just for practice

False. While baby teeth are temporary, they play an important role in a child’s orthodontic and oral health. Baby teeth hold the jaw in position for adult teeth to grow in, making sure that neighboring teeth don’t drift into their positions.1 Beyond this, the time in which your child has his/her baby teeth is an excellent opportunity to establish good oral hygiene practices—like flossing and brushing—so that the transition is seamless when his/her adult teeth come in.

Myth: It’s better to use a toothbrush with hard bristles

False. While it may seem that the added stiffness of the bristles would aid in removing plaque, the opposite is actually true. Since soft bristles can bend, they are able to get to the hard-to-reach spots that may be missed by a brush with firm bristles. On top of this, hard bristles have been shown to lead to more bleeding within the gums.2

Myth: Good oral hygiene keeps only my mouth healthy

False. Practicing good oral hygiene is not only key to a healthy smile, but it also provides a host of other benefits. Many studies have shown a link between oral health and a number of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.3 The build-up of bacteria on teeth makes gums more prone to infection, and the immune system attacks the infection by making the gums inflamed. This added inflammation can cause problems in the rest of the body.3 So when you take care of your teeth, you also aid your overall health.

Myth: Flossing is not necessary

False. Did you know that by skipping flossing you forgo cleaning up to 33% of your teeth’s surfaces?4 By adding flossing to your daily routine, you can make your mouth substantially healthier, which may mean easier visits to the dentist.

With these myths discredited, you can put into action the practices that can help keep your and your family healthy and smiling. 

1. Mouthhealthy.org, Baby teeth, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/baby-teeth

2. Huffingtonpost.com, Busted—the truth about the tooth fairy and other dental myth, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schechtman-dds/busted-the-truth-about-th_b_7741100.html?utm_hp_ref=dental-health

3. Webmd.com, Oral health: The mouth-body connection, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/oral-health-the-mouth-body-connection

4. Medicaldaily.com, Oral hygiene: 6 dental care myths may be killing your pearly whites, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.medicaldaily.com/oral-hygiene-6-dental-care-myths-may-be-killing-your-pearly-whites-306697

 

Sources

Huffingtonpost.com, Busted—the truth about the tooth fairy and other dental myths, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schechtman-dds/busted-the-truth-about-th_b_7741100.html?utm_hp_ref=dental-health

Medicaldaily.com, Oral hygiene: 6 dental care myths may be killing your pearly whites, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.medicaldaily.com/oral-hygiene-6-dental-care-myths-may-be-killing-your-pearly-whites-306697

Mouthhealthy.org, Baby teeth, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/baby-teeth

Webmd.com, Oral health: The mouth-body connection, accessed June 6, 2017, http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/oral-health-the-mouth-body-connection

 

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