The Truth About 5 Common General Dentistry Myths

general dentistry San Jose, CA

There are unfortunately many myths surrounding general dentistry and its importance in maintaining oral health. In reality, oral health is essentially connected to your overall health, and so keeping it a priority is of the utmost importance. Below are five common misconceptions and myths about the importance of oral health, as well as the corresponding truth for each.

5 Common oral health myths, debunked

1. Skipping one tooth-brushing session is OK

Bacteria can build up quickly when unchecked. When given the opportunity, bacteria will increase exponentially in the mouth — this is what happens when you skip even one tooth-brushing session.

Bad bacteria forms together in a sticky film called plaque. It feeds on carbohydrates that are found in the food and drink we consume every day. Plaque covers the teeth and hardens over time so it gets more and more difficult to remove it. This is called tartar.

To avoid the risk of tooth decay, brush every morning and every night before bed. Brushing rids the mouth of bacteria that has built up overnight and brushing at night before bed clears food and drink from the day. Brushing at these precise times in the day is your best defense against plaque. Use a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste for optimal care.

2. Flossing is good, but not necessary

What’s worse than cavities? Cavities that are hidden between teeth. Fixing tooth decay in these hard-to-reach areas is much more invasive, and requires more of the tooth structure to be taken away. The good news is preventing these cavities can be as simple as remembering to floss every day.

Food can get easily wedged in the spaces between teeth while eating. When this happens, brushing is often not enough to free these particles. Saliva works hard to break food down when it gets stuck, but it cannot do it alone. This is where flossing comes in.

Our general dentistry office recommends flossing once per day before brushing your teeth at bedtime. This helps to dislodge food from between teeth and makes brushing work better.

3. Oral health is not connected to overall health

A happy mouth means a happy body. This is one of the main focuses of general dentistry. Although oral health might seem independent of other body processes, think of it this way: All nutrients absorbed by our body are first processed through the mouth.

The health of the mouth is closely connected to the heart, for starters. Those with a history of gum disease and tooth decay are more at risk to develop heart complications. The bacteria in the oral cavity can sometimes rise to unsafe levels, entering the bloodstream via the gums. Once in the bloodstream, this bacteria can wreak havoc on the lining of the heart. This condition is known as endocarditis.

Vice versa, certain conditions like diabetes and osteoporosis can affect the health of the mouth negatively. The connection between mouth and body is intertwined and goes both ways.

4. Dental cleanings are a luxury, not a necessity

Dental cleanings should be completed at a general dentistry office every six months for adults, and every four to six months for kids. Skipping even one can drastically harm the condition of the teeth and gums. No matter how diligent the at-home oral health routine, nothing can replace a professional cleaning.

5. It is not important to keep baby teeth healthy

On the contrary, the health of baby teeth directly affects the lifelong condition of adult teeth. When the first set of teeth has cavities and rampant tooth decay, this can cause the teeth to fall out prematurely. Tooth decay on a baby tooth can extend down into the adult tooth below it, causing a disruption in growth. The bite is threatened and the teeth are more susceptible to decay later in life when baby teeth are not cared for correctly.

Request an appointment here: https://www.claraandiriousdds.com or call Almaden Valley Smile Design at (408) 827-9480 for an appointment in our San Jose office.

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