Dentistry can sometimes be a funny business because myths and misconceptions about dental care tend to run rampant. They can often ruin a person’s experience with their dentists and even create dental phobias. Our goals as dentists are not only to reassure people about their oral health but help educate them about the best ways to care for their teeth. From children learning how to brush their teeth to older adults learning a new way of dental care, here we’re presenting some of the most common misconceptions dentists come across, and hope to share this information so that everyone knows how vital oral care truly is!
Myth 1: Visiting the Dentist is Optional If You Have Healthy Teeth
Many people often believe in this misconception because it helps save time and money. Visiting the dentist is more than just about your regular checkups. The majority of dental care, including the companies that produce dental products, rely heavily on a concept called preventative care. Preventative care makes up those annual checkups, x-rays, and cleanings. Still, it is also part of a comprehensive healthcare system that works towards long-term goals, where it’s not just about patients being healthy, but staying healthy throughout their lives.
Myth 2: Root Canals are Painful
When a root canal is performed correctly, the most a patient will experience will be some discomfort. Yes, root canals do drill into the tooth to remove the pulp. Still, dentists often use local anesthesia to numb the affected area before surgery and use precise equipment to avoid those violent jerking motions often portrayed in movies. Dentists are also specifically trained in certain arm positions during treatment to avoid accidents, making the patient’s safety a top priority.
Myth 3: Sugar-Free Gum is an Alternative to Brushing
While interesting, sugar-free gum doesn’t provide enough cleaning ability to replace brushing and flossing completely. Even though sugar-free gum can remove bacteria and food particles from the mouth through increased saliva production, it can only work so far. Even the minty kinds of sugar-free gum cannot protect you from cavities. Brushing and flossing are the two hygiene habits essential to good oral health. We suggest using sugar-free gum as a form of enjoyment rather than a form of oral health care.
Myth 4: Gum Disease Only Affects the Mouth
Gum disease, although it originates in the mouth, affects more than just your gums. Gum disease increases the body’s inflammation process, which is made to attack irritants and foreign invaders in the body on a healthy scale. Because of this, gum disease is a direct link to other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and can even lead to heart attacks if not taken care of properly. Gum disease should absolutely be taken seriously, and if you have any signs of gum disease, visit your dentist or periodontist for treatment.
Myth 5: If You Brush Your Teeth Before Visiting, Your Dentist Won’t Notice
Dentists are highly trained in being aware of poor oral hygiene. Tartar often builds up when people have these poor habits, which are accumulations of plaque that have hardened, and won’t go away with a single hygiene session. If you have inflamed gums, the bleeding and redness will also give away those signs. Do not be ashamed if you haven’t taken care of yourself, because we will work with you to get you back your healthy teeth!
For more information on proper oral care and to learn about the ways dentists can help maintain good oral hygiene, contact Dr. Alina Huang at Glow Dental NYC, located in New York, NY, to schedule an appointment.