Mouthing Off: Dispelling the Three Most Common Dental Myths

Mouthing Off: Dispelling the Three Most Common Dental Myths

One of the biggest advantages to living in the digital age is the overwhelming amount of information that is just a click away. However, with so much discussion regarding almost every topic imaginable, it is easy to understand why so many rumors and myths get passed around. Since the dental arena is not immune to perpetual misinformation, here are three common myths debunked:


Dental Myth #1

A fancier or more expensive toothbrush results in cleaner, healthier teeth.


The Truth

It is not the type of toothbrush you use, but the manner in which you use it that makes all the difference. Brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time is the key to healthier teeth and gums. This can be easily accomplished whether you opt to use a simple, soft bristle manual toothbrush, or a higher-end electric one. The most important factor is to be comfortable with your selection and use it on a consistent basis.


Dental Myth #2

The harder you brush, the better your results.


The Truth

Brushing your teeth harder does not improve your oral health. In fact, it can have potentially damaging effects! Excessive brushing with aggressive force can lead to enamel loss and gum recession, which can ultimately expose roots and cause sensitivity and tooth decay. If you are unsure if you are a harsh brusher, talk with your dentist so they can assess your routine and provide helpful suggestions. Part of an assessment by a dentist involves measurement and scoring of any potential gum recession. These measurements are taken at each visit and compared against each other to identify long-term recession.


Dental Myth #3

Regular brushing eliminates the need for regular dental cleanings.


The Truth

Plaque, a biofilm with a soft mashed potato-like consistency, begins to form on your teeth within 20 minutes after eating. If it isn’t brushed away within eight hours, it hardens into tarter that brushing cannot remove. Tarter build-up leads to gum disease and tooth decay. Only a dentist or dental hygienist will have the tools necessary to properly and effectively remove tarter from the teeth.

When it comes to oral health, false information can be damaging. The most important way to make your dental health a priority is by seeking out a reputable dentist who can dispel myths and provide you with the facts. Your mouth will thank you for it.

How Gum Disease Bacteria Lowers the Immune System

An infection anywhere in the body can have a major impact on the immune system, lowering a patient’s ability to fight serious diseases. Some infections are worse than others, and gum disease is one of the most troublesome due to the mouth’s importance to the health of the rest of the body. When a dentist is able to treat gum disease, a patient is more likely to have a greater ability to fight infection and improve the immune system.

A Problematic Cycle

Gum disease allows toxic bacteria to have direct access to a patient’s blood stream, as well as to his or her lungs. This constant contact of negative organisms allows the infection to spread easily through the body. Once the infection spreads, the immune system becomes stressed beyond its capacity to function properly. As the immune system weakens, fighting off the original gum infection becomes more difficult, leaving a patient vulnerable to even more diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory disease

Advanced cases of gum disease can be difficult to treat, since the immune system is already so weakened that getting rid of the infection is a challenge.

Obtaining Treatment for Gum Disease

Those who suffer from gum disease and have not sought out treatment are not likely to be able to return to full health without the assistance of a dental professional. Leaving gum disease untreated can be destructive to the entire body, but dentists can prescribe powerful infection-fighting medications to help patients get the disease under control, including antibiotics.

Treatment options for gum disease can be either surgical or non-surgical and may include the following, depending upon the severity of the case:

  • Scaling and root planning
  • Removal of plaque and tartar build-up
  • Pocket reduction surgery
  • Bone or soft tissue grafts

Some patients may only need a dental cleaning to heal their gum infection, while others may require more invasive procedures.

Gum disease treatment should begin as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to the immune system and the overall health of the patient’s body.