The most fulfilling part of having a dental practice in downtown New Orleans is the people I get to help. I can help patients overcome major and minor dental problems using the latest technology. I also get to teach patients about best oral health practices and lend my advice.
It’s amazing how a little professional guidance can help a patient change their smile. It’s also amazing how a little BAD professional advice can change a patient’s smile. Today I want to tell you about five oral health myths that are dangerous. Avoid these dental myths at all costs, as they can damage your teeth and overall health.
Here is my list:
1. Bleeding or swollen gums are no big deal. MYTH. Bleeding or swelling in the mouth are two common signs of gum disease. This oral health problem is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and can take over the mouth with little to no warning. More than 50 percent of Americans will struggle with gum disease in their lives, and this disease is not curable. It also has been connected to serious medical issues like heart disease or diabetes. Patients with gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, are encouraged to visit the dentist once every three to four months for an exam.
2. Wisdom teeth are often not a problem. MYTH. Wisdom teeth are often misunderstood, but make no mistake, they are generally not good for your mouth. Wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 16 and 25. The grow in the very back of the mouth. These teeth typically grow in at an angle. Most dentists, including me, advice that you remove wisdom teeth as a preventive measure. Because these teeth do not develop straight, you risk disrupting the alignment of your teeth or causing crowding in the mouth. If you have had orthodontics, wisdom tooth removal can help protect your investment.
3. My teeth are fine because they do not hurt. MYTH. Your teeth should not hurt. It’s as simple as that. But there is no guarantee that your teeth are healthy because they are pain-free. Cavities can sometimes be painful, but you can also can have no pain and still have cavities. Waiting until your teeth hurt is a bad dental plan. If you are in pain, it’s possible you will have severe problems like root issues. If you maintain regular cleanings and exams, we can spot cavities when they are small, before any major issues occur.
4. You don’t need to floss. MYTH. The best defense against gum disease and tooth decay is brushing and flossing. You probably have heard jokes about flossing. Patients hate to floss. That’s no secret. But here is something you often do not hear about floss: it’s the best way to clean the portion of the tooth that lies beneath the gum line. About 35 percent of the tooth is beneath the gum line, and that means you cannot clean the entire tooth without flossing.
5. Baby Teeth Don’t Matter. MYTH. Because baby teeth end up falling out, it’s natural for people to think they are not important. That’s far from the case. Baby teeth are important and serve as placeholders for adult teeth. Keeping baby teeth healthy is imperative to your child’s overall health. Additionally, you don’t want your child to be in pain because of problems with tooth decay. Any tooth, especially baby teeth, can get cavities. We dentists recommend that you take your child to the dentist by the time they are 1 for a checkup.
These are just five dental myths that can destroy your smile. When you visit 7 O’Clock Dental, we can give you great at-home oral health tips to help you maintain a great smile. Call our office today at (504) 266-0664 to book an appointment.