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If you have a question, you probably Google the answer. This is the age we live in. It’s amazing to have access to great information at any given time. The problem is, of course, that not everything on the internet is credible. That’s probably not a shocker, but today I want to share some specifics about how bad information can damage your smile. This week, I want to share 10 examples of dental myths — five today and another five later this week.

Read through these items below to see if you’re following bad dental advice. If you need a talented general dentist to oversee your care, call our office today at 503-388-4691. Here is my list of dental myths you need to avoid.

1. Bleeding gums are not a big deal. MYTH.

If your gums are bleeding, that’s a clear sign of an infection. Bleeding gums, tender gums, or swollen gums are the first sign of gum disease. Gum disease is no joke. It has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, and it’s the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is so dangerous because it can spread throughout your entire mouth. When the infection reaches your bone, it can cause your teeth to fail. If you have bleeding gums, it’s time to get to a dentist ASAP.

2. Root canals can make you sick. MYTH.

This myth is a little baffling to me. You see, it started almost 100 years ago. A dentist by the name of Dr. Weston Price theorized that infected teeth are always infected. He also proposed that root canals can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, or even autoimmune diseases. These are some serious accusations, and these points have been disproven for decades. The American Dental Association also does not recognize Dr. Price’s theories, but yet, people still bring up Dr. Price’s theory about root canals. Our office maintains that root canals are safe and the best way to save an infected tooth.

3. My teeth will hurt if I have cavities. MYTH.

It’s possible for your teeth to hurt from cavities, but it’s also possible to have cavities and feel nothing. The only way to know if you’re cavity free is to visit the dentist. We can diagnose even the smallest cavities and set up preventive procedures. Waiting until your teeth hurt to see a dentist is a bad idea. Your enamel — the outer layer of the tooth — protects the nerves and tissue layers of the tooth. If your tooth hurts, it’s possible the decay has eaten through the enamel and reached the dental pulp. When the pulp is infected, you’ll need a root canal to repair the tooth.

4. Oral cancer is only a concern for smokers. MYTH.

It’s true that people who smoke or use alcohol in excess face a higher risk of oral cancer, but they are not the only people at risk for oral cancer. People with the HPV virus are a higher risk for oral cancer, and some people who have been diagnosed have no known risks. So the reality is that anyone can have oral cancer. Protect yourself by receiving regular oral cancer screenings.

5. Dental problems cannot affect my overall health. MYTH.

Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that has been tied to diabetes and heart disease. While there is no proven cause and effect relationship, we’ve found that people with gum disease have a higher risk of heart problems or diabetes. Additionally, missing teeth can affect your overall health because you cannot get the nutrition you need.

These are the first five myths you need to avoid at all costs. Come back here in a few days to read about a few dental myths you need to avoid. If you’re ready to schedule a visit with our office, call the office at 503-388-4691.