A few days ago, I wrote to you about some of the most dangerous dental myths out there. I hope you were able to take those tips to heart. By avoiding these dangerous dental myths, you can improve your oral health. Today, I have another five dental myths to avoid. I created this list from things I’ve read on the internet and from things I’ve heard from patients.
1. Dentures are just as good as your natural teeth. MYTH. We dentists can replace your missing teeth, but nothing is as good as natural teeth. Your natural teeth are your best teeth. Dentists have used dentures to replace teeth for hundreds of years. Dentures can restore aesthetics, but that’s about it. Dentures have little biting force. While dental implants are about 90 percent as strong as natural teeth, removable dentures are only about 35 percent as strong as natural teeth.
2. Teeth whitening is dangerous. MYTH. Teeth-whitening is a tool that has been used in dentistry for decades. It’s one of the easiest cosmetic solutions, and yes, it’s safe to use. The problem with teeth whitening isn’t that it’s dangerous, it’s that it’s so often misused. Patients who use whitening treatments without the supervision of an oral health professional do not see great results. We dentists make sure you are in good oral health — free of cavities and gum disease — before we render any whitening treatments. Using our whitening treatments, we can also help you achieve a brighter smile.
3. Sugar is the only thing that causes tooth decay. MYTH. While sugar is a major cause of tooth decay, it’s hardly the only cause. Foods high in carbohydrates also cause tooth decay. Foods packed with sugar and carbohydrates are more likely to create harmful acids in the mouth. Acid is what eats through the enamel, causing cavities. You can avoid cavities by reducing acid levels in the mouth. You can also avoid cavities by getting fluoride treatments or having dental sealants put over health teeth to block out tooth decay.
4. A large fillings will need a crown. MYTH. This myth was somewhat true a few decades ago, but we’ve since changed the way we restore cavities. Several decades ago, dentists exclusively used metal fillings to restore cavities. While metal is extremely strong, these fillings are not bonded to the tooth. It’s common for decay to get between old metal fillings and the tooth, which can lead for the need to more serious restorations. We now use composite fillings that restore the cavity and bond to the tooth. Our composite fillings also blend in with your smile.
5. Flossing is optional. MYTH. You’ll hear this from a lot of dentists: “Only floss the teeth … you want to keep.” That’s a tongue-in-cheek way of saying, “Yes, flossing is important.” Floss is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cavities or gum disease — an oral condition that is the leading cause of tooth loss (I mentioned this in a blog earlier this week.). Consider this fact: Only about 65 percent of your tooth is above the gum line. That means the other 35 percent is below the gum line. If you neglect flossing your teeth, you cannot clean a big portion of your teeth.
I hope you keep these lists of dental myths handy. Think about these the next time you read something on the internet that seems far fetch. You can also call our office today at 503-388-4691 to schedule an appointment with our hygiene team.