PLANTATION, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--It was once popular belief that “evil tooth worms” caused cavities and a toothache could be cured by spitting into an anthill. Although it may seem humorous, some modern-day dental myths are just as silly. And while believing in the tooth fairy (or the tooth rat) likely will not cause harm, there is plenty of misinformation masquerading as fact that can seriously damage one’s dental health. Here are the top ten dental myths, from DentalPlans.com, that can ruin a perfectly good smile.
1. Dental disease is always caused by bad dental hygiene
Genetics may be a key cause of tooth decay and gum disease, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. But a predisposition to oral health problems does not always translate to dental doom or painful dental procedures. Regular at-home and professional dental care can help to avoid or lessen the impact of inherited dental deficiencies.
2. Kids get more cavities than adults
Over the last two decades, sealants and fluoridated water have reduced the incidence of tooth decay in children, even for those who snack on sticky candies and sugar-laden foods. Senior citizens are now more likely to get cavities than kids, and less likely to get regular dental checkups. This could be due to delayed care since Medicare does not cover dental, dry mouth from certain medications, diet, and more.
3. You cannot catch cavities
Dental decay is a contagious disease. A single romantic kiss can transfer 80 million bacteria from one mouth to another in just ten seconds, according to a study by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research in Amsterdam. Do not stop smooching though, read on…
4. Oral bacteria is really bad for your teeth
Many of the hundreds of different species of bacteria that live in a typical human mouth are helpful (probiotics) as they aid in digesting food, manufacturing nutrients and warding off disease. Only two species (“Streptococcus mutans” and “Porphyromonas gingivalis”) are strongly linked to decay and gum disease.
5. Teeth can heal themselves
Saliva, which is rich in calcium and phosphate, can help repair microscopic injuries that might lead to cavities. But dental enamel has no living cells and cannot self-heal an established cavity.
6. Research shows that flossing is not necessary
Although research has shown that there is no conclusive evidence that flossing is effective in preventing tooth decay, it is still important. Not only does it aid in preventing and/or eliminating bad breath, plaque, and gingivitis, but removing debris between/around the teeth is obviously a good idea. This can be done with electronic teeth-cleaning devices, interdental cleaners, toothpicks, or floss.
7. Put aspirin next to an aching tooth to reduce pain
Swallowing the aspirin is a much better idea or even applying an ice pack on the outside of your jaw. Keeping an aspirin, or even worse – a crushed aspirin – between the cheek and an aching tooth can seriously damage gum and mouth tissues. In some cases, it may cause a chemical or acid-like burn. Aside from ingesting aspirin, there are approved oral numbing medicines that may help in the interim, but it is always a good idea to see a dentist should pain persist.
8. Sugar causes cavities
Acid causes cavities. Sugar – and other carbohydrates – are the favorite food of oral bacteria. Carb-fueled bacteria produces acid, which is what weakens teeth and can lead to cavities.
9. Bad breath is caused by dental decay
Persistent halitosis typically is a symptom of gum disease, but it can also be caused by digestive issues such as acid reflux, sinus infections and other health problems. Mouthwash and mints really do not help, only temporarily. It is recommended that those with halitosis see a dentist to identify and try to mitigate the cause of the problem.
10. White teeth are healthy teeth
Usually, but darker teeth are not necessarily unhealthy teeth. Tetracycline antibiotics can cause teeth to darken, as can aging and ingesting dark-colored food and drinks, like coffee, tea, and wine. And some peoples’ teeth are just naturally darker than bright white.
Do not believe the myths – only regular, preventive dental care can keep teeth and gums healthy. If budget issues put professional dental care out of reach, join a dental savings plan to save 10%-60% on most dental procedures.
To find out more about the advantages of dental savings plans, visit dentalplans.com
DentalPlans.com, founded in 1999, is a leading dental and health savings online marketplace in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives. www.dentalplans.com.