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27 August 2014

10 dental myths debunked

Fact or fiction? These are things we believed for a long time about dental care that is actually false. It’s time for us to know the real deal.

1. Myth: Many children today have terrible teeth.

Fact: Compared to generations before, there is a marked improvement in the dental health of British School children. Six out of ten children begin the new school year with no tooth decay. However, this is no reason to become complacent. It’s still important to give priority to your child’s dental health and to teach them to maintain good dental and oral hygiene practices.

2. Myth: White teeth always mean healthier teeth.

Fact: Natural teeth aren’t meant to be pure, dazzlingly white. Unlike in some toothpaste ads and Commercials, a lot of people can be fooled into thinking that having whiter teeth is a natural condition, hence, spurring the need to have their teeth whitened. It may be impossible to achieve perfectly white teeth, but the next best thing is to maintain clean, healthy teeth, and keep them from stains and discolouration. You can do this by not overindulging in substances that stain the teeth like black tea, coffee, red wine, soy sauce, tomato sauce, and nicotine in cigarettes.

3. Myth: I’m required to see a dentist every six months.

Fact: Your dentist will determine how often you should visit for a check-up, and when your next check-up will be. The frequency of dental check-ups varies from once every three months to once every two years.

4. Myth: Our water supply contains fluoride.

Fact: In the UK, only 10% of the existing water supply contains amounts of fluoride significant enough to contribute to your dental health. Ask your water supplier if your water contains fluoride. However, fluoride-enriched water isn’t enough to make your teeth healthy.

5. Myth: Kiddie toothpaste is better for young children.

Fact: Some baby toothpaste is too mild—they do not contain enough amount of fluoride to fight tooth decay. Check the packaging label for this information. Children aged three and below require at least 1,000 ppm (parts per million) fluoride. Children aged three to six require 1,350-1,500 ppm of fluoride, while children aged seven and above need a minimum of 1,500 ppm fluoride. Choose a brand with the right amount of fluoride for your child’s age. Anything below the required amount won’t be effective in preventing tooth decay.

6. Myth: The only foods bad for my teeth are the sugar in cakes, candies, chocolates, sweets, and fizzy drinks.

Fact: While it’s true that these foods can contribute to tooth decay, even healthy food like dried fruit, honey, and fruit juice contains natural sugars that can wear your teeth down. Moderation is the key. Limit intake of sweet, sugary treats, even those with natural sugars and make sure to brush your teeth twice daily.

7. Myth: I don’t have to brush my child’s milk teeth yet.

Fact: Even though your child will eventually lose all their milk teeth, they still need to be brushed. As soon as your child’s first milk teeth emerge, start brushing their teeth. Teeth brushing at a young age can help instil good dental and oral hygiene in children that they could continue until they’re old.

8. Myth: All old people require dentures.

Fact: As more people practice lifelong proper dental and oral hygiene, and continue to take advantage of advancements in the field of dental health care, fewer people would require dentures or false teeth when they’re older. This means that more people get to keep their natural teeth even well into old age.

9. Myth: Bad breath is only caused by not brushing your teeth every day.

Fact: Most cases of halitosis or bad breath are caused by poor and inadequate oral hygiene. It’s not just skipping brushing your teeth that’s the culprit. You have to make dental and oral hygiene a priority. Aside from brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, also floss your teeth, rinse with antiseptic mouthwash, and visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

Some types of food and drinks with strong flavours like onions, garlic, and curries cause temporary bad breath, so take these foods in moderation. Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash or take breath mints after eating.

10. Myth: I can skip flossing since I brush my teeth every day and my dentist says they’re healthy.

Fact: Most people think they can do away with flossing since they find no immediate benefits to it. But in fact, flossing is responsible for 40% of the work involved in removing food residue and plaque stuck in between teeth. Each tooth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, it’s like leaving two of your tooth’s surfaces dirty. Floss is the only effective material that can get through tight spaces between the teeth to remove bacteria and residue.

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