It's Friday the 13th, and in the spirit of myths and superstitions, A+ Dental has a few dental misconceptions to clear up. Teeth and dental health have been mysterious throughout history, from the belief that cavities were caused by "tooth worms" to believing that a mother loses a tooth for each child born. Science and medical advances have long since put these ideas to rest, but dental myths and misconceptions still abound. Let's debunk a few of them.
Dental Myth- Sugar is the Primary Cause of Tooth Decay
Sugar, in an of itself, is not the primary cause of cavities. In fact, sugar acts as fuel for oral bacteria, helping it to grow out of control in the mouth, and settling in the tiny crevices between teeth. It is bacterial waste that actually causes tooth decay. Bacteria consume sugars, including those made through the breakdown of carbohydrates. Their waste is highly acidic. It is the acids produced by bacteria that actually break down tooth enamel, weakening it and causing tooth decay. Avoiding high sugar and high carbohydrate foods, combined with good oral hygiene will keep the acids at bay.
Dental Myth- You Can "Cure" Cavities With Coconut Oil
Once tooth enamel has been weakened, and tooth decay sets in, it cannot heal itself. Decay breaks down the structure of your tooth, and it will not grow back. Popular natural treatments, such as oil pulling can reduce the level of oral bacteria, but it cannot "cure" cavities, and is in no way a replacement for professional dental care. If you have a cavity, seeing your dentist for treatment at the earliest signs of a problem is the only way to stop it in it's tracks and prevent further damage to your tooth.
Dental Myth- A Harder Toothbrush is Better
Dentists recommend using a soft bristle toothbrush to clean teeth and gums. Using a brush that is too hard or abrasive can actually cause damage. Hard bristled toothbrushes can traumatize delicate gum tissue, causing recession of the gums. In addition, hard brushes can cause tiny abrasions in the tooth enamel and lead to weakening of the enamel over time. Weakened enamel promotes tooth decay.
Dental Myth- Diet Sodas are Safe for Teeth Because They Contain No Sugar
When it comes to drinking soda, the rule of thumb is 'everything in moderation'. It is not the sugar in soda, as much as it is the acids, that breakdown tooth enamel and promote tooth decay. Frequent or prolonged exposure to the acids in soda can be extremely damaging to your dental health, even if they contain no sugar. If you must drink soda, drink it quickly, as opposed to sipping on it for hours, and brush your teeth afterward, or at least rinse well with water to wash away the acids left behind.
Dental Myth- Tooth Loss is Inevitable Because it Runs in My Family
While certain dental conditions and anatomical features are in fact hereditary, maintaining a healthy mouth is something you can control. Even if your parents lost their teeth, you can stop the cycle from continuing. Good dental habits such as maintaining a healthy low carb, low sugar diet combined with daily brushing and flossing can prevent you from following in your parents' footsteps where dental health is concerned. See your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups, and treat problems like bleeding gums or cavities early.
Have a Dental Myth or Superstition you want more information about? Contact A+Dental and we will be pleased to provide more information.