Dental Myths Busted!

Myth: You should avoid brushing and flossing bleeding and inflamed gums

It might seem to be logical to leave red and inflamed tissue alone and wait until it heals. However, when it comes to your gums the opposite is true. Plaque and food particles accumulate along your gums making them irritated and inflamed. This accumulation needs to be gently but thoroughly removed with a soft-bristled toothbrush in order for your gums to heal.

Gums might bleed initially however it will reduce over time. A lot of people will experience some degree of bleeding when they haven’t flossed for a while. When flossing, don’t force the floss between your teeth. Instead gently slide it back and forth, following the natural c-shaped curve of your tooth. It may take few days for bleeding and soreness to disappear. If bleeding and soreness don’t disappear after few weeks of proper brushing and flossing, it may be a sign of a more serious problem that needs to be assessed by your dentist.

Myth: Mouthwash can replace brushing

A few years ago a major mouth rinse manufacturer released a number of nation-wide TV and radio commercials claiming that their product was “blasting plaque off teeth” and “killing 99.9% of germs”.  Unfortunately, their claims were far from the truth.

When plaque starts to appear on teeth it forms a complex biofilm which can only be removed by mechanical action (brushing and flossing). Mouth rinse will only kill a surface layer of bacteria leaving others untouched. Furthermore, it only kills 99.9% of bacteria providing it is not suspended in a biofilm. Think of mouth rinse as a nice addition to your brushing and flossing routine.

Not all mouthrinses are the same. Most of them are designed to target specific dental conditions. So ask your dentist or hygienist which one the is best for you.

Myth: Placing a painkiller tablet on a tooth will relieve a toothache

You wouldn’t put a tablet on your forehead if you have a headache, would you?…Painkillers are designed to be ingested as they get absorbed through the digestive tract and enter your bloodstream to travel through your body. Painkillers work by blocking pain messages from affected site to your brain. Furthermore, some painkillers like Aspirin are very acidic and can cause very painful chemical burns to the soft tissue surrounding the tooth.

Myth: Tooth decay is genetic

Dental decay is caused by bacteria, therefore, it is considered to be an “infection” rather than an inherited trait.  Dental decay is transmittable and is usually passed from mothers and other family members to babies during their first year of life through kissing and sharing of food.  A child is more likely to harbour tooth-decay causing bacteria later in life if their parents or carers had active decay or lots of fillings.

Good oral hygiene and diet is the best way to prevent dental decay in children.

Myth: You don’t have to see a dentist if teeth are not bothering you

Prevention is better than cure. Most dental diseases can be prevented but cannot be reversed. Several dental conditions such as periodontal disease, erosion, attrition wear and early stages of caries are known as “silent killers” and usually don’t show any symptoms until late stages of a disease. Through regular examinations, your dentist can detect those problems early and stop or slow down the progression of the disease. It is much easier and more cost-effective to treat early dental decay compared to advanced one which is painful and cavitated.

Plus severely decayed tooth might require very costly and complex restorative treatment such as Root Canal Treatment or in some cases need to be extracted.