Dental Hygiene Myths

Dental hygiene is an important part of a person’s daily routine that we teach even the youngest members of our family. Brushing your teeth after every meal is a common tip to keep your teeth healthy, and that eating sweets to often can cause cavities. These are all facts, but there also a few myths out there that need debunking. When you schedule an appointment with us at Greenspoint Dental, we make sure that you will leave with knowledge about keeping oral hygiene.

  1. Bad breath is only caused by tooth decay.

Bad breath is a sign that you may have tooth decay. When the cavity gets big and deep enough, the tooth can get infected can emit a foul odor. However, there are many other factors that can cause bad breath or halitosis. Vices such as smoking and drinking, and even taking certain medications, can cause dryness of the mouth and bad breath. Even certain throat conditions can also cause a foul odor to emit from the mouth.

  1. Tooth decay is easily detected. You will know if you have a cavity.

While pain, a subjective symptom, is a late sign of tooth decay. When cavities first start out on the tooth, it is painless because only the first layer (the enamel) is involved. It is only when the tooth has experienced severe decay that the nerve endings of the tooth are exposed and pain can be felt. When this is the case, your dentist can recommend that you undergo a root canal or tooth extraction.

  1. Poor oral hygiene will only cause oral problems and vice versa.

While poor oral hygiene can indeed cause signs and symptoms in the mouth, its complications can also affect other parts of the body. Likewise, oral problems are not only caused by poor oral hygiene. Studies have shown that the development of gum disease can be linked to diabetes. Gum disease is a condition where the gums become chronically inflamed, affecting attachment of teeth to the gums. The results of the study are:

  • Positive correlation between high blood sugar level and occurrence of periodontal disease

  • Thickening of blood vessels is a complication of diabetes, and can affect the way blood flows through gum tissues. This causes dryness of the mouth and tissue damage, both factors for periodontal disease.

  • Because there are high glucose levels in blood and saliva due to diabetes, there is more sugar for oral bacteria to feed on. This causes an increase in acid production in the mouth, making the teeth very prone to developing cavities.

  • Positive correlation between smoking and development of gum disease. Smokers are five times more likely to get gum disease, with even higher statistics for smokers with diabetes.

  1. Sugar causes cavities.

To an extent, this is true. When a person eats too many sweets, you will notice that they are more prone to developing tooth aches and cavities. What really causes cavities is acid produced by bacteria. When plaque builds up on a tooth, it becomes home to bacteria. Bacteria feed on sugar and produces acid which erode the enamel that covers the tooth. This is why people who do not brush their teeth after eating sweets and carbs are more likely to get cavities.