There’s something about the dentist chair that makes people go a little crazy. Actually, about 12 percent of American adults claim to get anxious prior to a dental checkup. While we can take guesses as to why this occurs, the reality is that much of the anxiety, stress, and fear that are associated with the dentist is founded by myths and lies. It’s true, for some reason there are countless myths swirling around the country about oral hygiene, dental procedures and treatments, and really all things related to dentistry in general. Unfortunately, more than 4 percent of American adults actually pass on going to the dentist due to their fears and anxieties. Skipping the dentist can lead to all kinds of oral health problems, and that’s no myth.
In an effort to ease the fears and worries of many American adults, let’s take a look at some of the most common myths linked to dental care and shed some light on the truth with a bit of help from the American Dental Association:
- Every person will eventually need dentures or false teeth when they are older. This is not true! Maintaining great oral health throughout childhood and adult life allows for plenty of people to keep their natural teeth.
- Sugars in desserts and sweets are the only type of sugar that is bad for your teeth. This is not true! Natural foods and processed foods with sugar in them pose a threat to oral hygiene, make sure to brush and floss after consuming any type of sugary food or drink.
- Using a toothpick too often will eventually create a gap in between teeth. This is not true! Spacing between teeth is most commonly associated gum disease. There is no proof that using a toothpick will create any type of gap or space between teeth.
- Skip out on expensive whiteners, brushing with salt will whiten teeth. This is not true! While the teeth may appear whiter at first, the salt will actually rub out the outer layer of the tooth and cut gums, often causing serious damage that requires repair in the long run.
- Wisdom teeth must be extracted. This is not true! There are a number of reasons to remove wisdom teeth. For example, they can cause infection or the jaw bone may not allow enough room for their presence. However, unless there is a specific issue, the wisdom teeth can stay.
- Too much brushing can damage enamel. This is not true! Many dentists will suggest using a soft bristle toothbrush to avoid roughness. Everyone is still encourage to brush at least twice a day, if not after each meal, with no harm to their enamel.
- Avoid brushing and flossing if gums bleed. This is not true! Oftentimes gums bleed because of food debris or plaque, therefore brushing or flossing would remove the foreign elements. Gum bleeding is also associated to unhealthy gums, so it is best to increase the oral care if this starts to occur, in addition to making an appointment with a dentist.
- Never visit the dentist during pregnancy. This is not true! While routine x-rays should not be conducted during pregnancy, it is perfectly fine to go in for a dental cleaning and checkup.
The truth of the matter is that in any medical field there are a lot of rumors and untruths. Doing research is important to move through the myth clutter and learn the facts. The best option, however, is to contact a dentist and ask questions. Always take a proactive approach in your oral hygiene to keep your smile healthy and bright.