It is not uncommon for dental patients to have a limited understanding of their oral health–after all, this is what your dentist is here to help you with. However, since your understanding of your oral health better allows you to maintain and improve it, there is great benefit in learning more whenever possible.
You may correctly recognize the fact that your oral health is deeply connected with your oral structure, function and comfort. Discomfort in your mouth can make it difficult to talk, eat and even just function normally. What you may not recognize is that your oral health is also deeply connected with your overall physical health and comfort. When it comes to better understanding your oral health it is very important to separate fact from fiction, so that you understand exactly what you need to do, and not do, in order to enjoy the absolute best oral health possible.
Myths and Facts
Like any other desired physical state, good oral health is not a condition that just magically occurs, but rather is a condition that you must work hard to bring about. To that end, consider the following five common myths about oral health:
- Pearly white teeth are the healthiest teeth. For obvious aesthetic reasons, pearly white teeth can seem highly desirable. However, in some cases extremely white teeth are undesirable, as they can signal that one is deficient in calcium or has experienced excessive fluoride intake. Whitening products, such as toothpastes and mouthrinses, can create the appearance of beautiful, pearly white teeth, but they can also hide the existence of gum disease, cavities and other oral health issues. This is why it is always prudent to check with your dentist prior to embarking on any sort of teeth whitening adventure.
- Pregnant women should avoid receiving professional dental care. It’s definitely true that pregnant women need to be aware of potential dangers in their environment, and take the actions necessary to protect their own and their unborn baby’s health. Because of this, there are some dental procedures that are best avoided until after pregnancy, but regular professional dental care–including examinations and cleanings–are not among them. Regular professional dental care during pregnancy may be argued to be even more important than regular professional dental care away from pregnancy. In fact, the American Dental Association has stated that pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis, a condition that can be prevented or treated early by professional dental examinations and cleanings.
- Excessively hot or cold foods can cause deep cracks in your teeth. Extreme temperature changes can sometimes cause cracks in teeth, but these cracks are normally shallow and therefore not of great concern. That said, you should always have any irregularities on your teeth or in your mouth checked out by your dentist, just to ensure that it is not a major issue that can exacerbate and threaten your oral health in the future.
- It’s not really important to take care of baby teeth, since they’re only temporary. It’s true that baby teeth are temporary, but the care of these teeth can very well lay the foundation for an individual’s oral health long into the future. One should view the health of their child’s baby teeth as just as important to establish and maintain as the health of their adult teeth, and practice good oral hygiene habits from the earliest age possible.
- Teeth-whitening procedures are bad for you. While it may be true that some over-the-counter whitening solutions are not the best idea, professional teeth-whitening procedures are totally safe. That said, teeth-whitening treatments can result in a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity, which is partly why they are not recommended at too frequent of intervals.
You may have heard other things about oral health that you find to be at least partly true, and perhaps they are. However, it is best to err on the side of caution and always check with your dentist, Dr. Saferin, prior to altering your oral hygiene habits or dental care as a result of something you’ve heard.