10-false-myths-in-oral-health

10-false-myths-in-oral-health

1-‘My mouth produces much plaque’

Many people misunderstand what oral health consists of, and are convinced that tartar formation (or “dental calculus”) is inevitable in certain people. In reality tartar is calcified bacterial plaque and hardened by not being removed from the surface of teeth (with the toothbrush and dental floss) during a certain time (that can be only a few weeks). Thus, it is the consequence of not having a daily efficient oral health. Another different matter is what consequence will have a bad hygiene in health. They can be different in some people (read the blog article regarding “periodontal disease, periodontitis, or pyorrhea”).

2-‘The toothbrush and dental floss damage my gums and if they bleed it is better not to touch them’

This is, again, a bad but very common interpretation of how gums become sick as well as the tissues that support teeth. When we are not capable of removing bacterial plaque (bacterial biofilm formed physiologically every day on the surface of teeth) approximately once (if not, more) by using adequately (soft and slow) the toothbrush and dental floss, the gums become infected. The first symptom of infection is the bleeding. This, when the movements of dental hygiene contact with infected gums, they will bleed. The correct decision is to insist on eliminating as much bacterial plaque as possible BUT WITH SOFTNESS AND SLOWNESS.

3-‘Mouthwashes and toothpastes clean teeth’

In reality, oral hygiene is done through physical removal (in a slow and soft form) of bacterial plaque with the toothbrush and dental floss. Toothpaste is essential by being the best vehicle to apply fluoride on teeth, but not because it cleans them. Mouthwashes can be excellent hygiene complements whose use should not reduce the attention towards the movements with the toothbrush and dental floss. The increasing interest of society for the quality of these products is very important due that this motivates patients of all ages in the care of oral health. The other common mistake related to ‘after an extraction you have to rinse your mouth a lot’,  is a traditional home advice that has no medical basis, and almost certainly will cause complications after a tooth extraction. Oral hygiene is not done simply with rinses, but with the recommended maneuvers in each case. But in a general way it can be assured that the rinses can alter the natural healing process after an extraction, and cause complications (pathological bleeding, infections, pain).

4-‘Pregnancy damages teeth’

As the popular wisdom assures, ‘every pregnancy costs a tooth’. And it is not misguided, relating pregnancy with a greater risk of deterioration of oral health. But what is not right is in the motive itself (‘steal of dental calcium from the mother by the fetus’, and other explanations more or less complicated and romantic). The reason is the change of habits. It is very normal to change hygienic and feeding routines at this stage, and that can increase the risk of pathology. In addition, the opinion that pregnant women can not undergo dental treatment is very widespread, so that the possible problems that can be detected in a review can worsen for several months. In fact, all curative and restorative dental treatments can be performed during pregnancy, the only limitation being the possible discomfort of the woman during the third trimester. Pregnancy, in oral health, only increases blood vascularization, so that gum inflammations can manifest more. And we must not forget that situations that need medication should be prevented as much as possible if they become complicated, so that the pregnant woman should be checked more often by the dentist.

5-‘Aspirin in direct contact with gums calms dental pain’

This traditional home remedy is one of the most irrational advice that can be given to a person with dental pain. Aspirin, not only will not be absorbed through the gum and the underlying bone, but will cause a caustic burn in it. Dental pain usually has a cause susceptible to dental treatment, and if any additional analgesic or antibiotic medication is required, it will usually be administered via the general route.

6-‘Wisdom teeth push the rest of the teeth’

Popular wisdom again, aided in this case by the incorrect observations that professionals made in the past, ensured that the wisdom teeth, when erupted, pushed forward the rest of the teeth. In fact, in many adolescents there is a crowding of the teeth from about 17-18 years, but it is due to physiological changes of the lower jaw, which coincide approximately in the same age when the wisdom teeth erupt.

7-‘Cleanings damage teeth and gums’

Professional dental cleanings eliminate the hardened bacterial layer adhered to the teeth. And that’s always good for oral health. In the dental clinic, the appropriate maneuvers are always carried out in each case, and the instruments do not damage teeth or gums. The supposed damages caused by the cleanings are for other reasons: the bleeding of the gum is due to the infection caused by bacteria that are eliminated with the cleaning (as well as possible retractions), the wear of the exposed roots are caused by the bruxism (‘Dental grinding’) or aggressive toothbrushing: ‘The brush must be hard and must be used with energy’. There is nothing more ineffective and dangerous. The dental bacterial plaque is removed, that is, it is detached (not swept) by slow and gentle maneuvers. Both with the brush and with dental floss. What matters is the way to brush, not the instrument. This will depend on the comfort of each person.

8-‘Implants last forever’

Many people are convinced of it. And it does not notice that a treatment designed by science (and which in reality is usually the best alternative to missing teeth), is not better than a natural tooth. The dental implant is a fixation inside the maxillary bone that replaces the root of a lost tooth, but does not have the biological characteristics of it. Dental prosthesis on implants are much more vulnerable than natural dentition against infectious or traumatic aggressions (accidental or also bruxism). The best advice that can be given to a patient who wants to benefit from dental implantology is that they take the treatment as a ‘second chance’ to take care of their dental health, and correct harmful habits (poor hygiene, smoking). The ‘fear of rejection of the dental implant’ has no scientific basis. The alleged cases of ‘rejection’ that are so often explained are due to other reasons, which can almost always be prevented: poor hygiene, smoking, metabolic disorders which are not controlled, or not following the instructions received by the dentist. If the dental implantology is carried out following the current protocols and the patient takes their care and hygiene seriously, it is a highly reliable technique.

9-‘Bad breath is due to stomach problems’

Halitosis or ‘bad breath’ can have different reasons, which could be summarized in local by proximity to the nose and mouth (oral, otorhinolaryngological and airway problems), or general (systemic alterations of the organism due to diverse diseases or metabolic disorders). But the most important and frequent cause are oral diseases, mainly tooth decay and gum disease.

10-‘Milk teeth don’t need to be treated because they will be substituted’

Children should be checked by the dentist from the moment that they have all of their erupted and visible temporary dentition. It is usually about three years of life. Children will go through different stages of oral maturation and growth of their jaws, and their trusted dentist must control all of them. There may be problems of infection or of distribution of the denture that can be treated or relieved before they become complicated. It is important that the child begins his visits to the dentist in a friendly environment, very different from being forced by an unpleasant circumstance (infection, trauma). In addition, it will be easier to motivate him/her to adopt healthy habits (read blog article).

Translated by Marta Pey

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