There are plenty of myths out there about oral health and it’s hard to sift through what’s true and what’s not. Here’s a list of 10 myths you may have not know where false.
1. Sugar is the prime cause of cavities
Really, acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the cause of cavities. However, this myth is on track considering carbohydrates (sugars) triggers bacteria to make acid. Sugar is a carb, along with rice, potatoes, bread, fruits and vegetables.
Once the acid eats into your tooth then the bacteria have someone to live and are out of harms way of brushing and flossing.
The important fact is it’s not the amount of carbs you eat that causes tooth decay, but it’s the length of time your teeth are exposed to carbs. So eating a bunch of carbs during lunch isn’t as dangerous as spending the day sipping on sugary drinks, which provides constant, harmful exposure.
2. Exposure to acidic foods causes tooth decay.
Acidic foods like lemons, citrus juices or even soft drinks don’t directly cause cavities, but they do put your enamel in danger. Acidic foods wear at the enamel’s protection and exposes the underlying dentin. This makes your teeth more prone to tooth decay.
3. Kids are more likely to get cavities than adults
Sealants, fluoridated water and other preventive care strategies actually have drastically cut tooth decay in school-aged children. During the last 20 years decay in children has cut in half because of these advances in oral health.
On the other hand, there has been and increase in cavities amongst senior citizens. Many medications taken by the elderly dry out the mouth. Saliva is a vital in fighting tooth decay because it helps neutralize acids. Saliva also washes away bacteria and helps food from sticking to your teeth.
4. Place an aspirin next too a tooth with a toothache
Simply put, swallowing aspirin reduces toothache pain. But aspirin is also acidic so placing it beside a tooth can actually burn gum tissue, causing an abscess.
5. All fillings need replacing
Amalgam or composite filling needs to be replaced if it breaks down or a cavity forms around it. If none of these problems happen, then theoretically you can keep the same filling for life.
6. You know when you have a cavity
Mild tooth decay doesn’t necessarily cause symptoms. Pain associated with cavities comes when the tooth decay is more advanced and causes damage to the nerve.
Allowing tooth decay to advance into pain may lead to more expensive procedures, such as root canals. This is why regular dental checkups are so important.
7. Once a tooth is treated, the decaying stops
You can still get decay later in the same tooth. Once you have a cavity filled and it’s maintained properly then you shouldn’t get a cavity in the same spot again. Although, sometimes fillings get old and bacteria can find it’s way in inconsistencies of the filling, thus causing tooth decay.
8. Cavities are more likely to be found between teeth
Yes, flossing between teeth is very important. But it’s also just as important to brush the teeth in the back of your mouth. Most cavities happen in the deep grooves of molars.
9. Gaps between teeth are more prone to cavities
Bigger gaps are actually easier to keep clean. Tight teeth are harder to clean and allow bacteria to stay in place.
10. Chips and cracks in teeth will lead to decay
Cracks and chips can create hiding places for bacteria, but not always. That’s why it’s important to fluoride rinse, which can get into those nooks and crannies.