On the BBC Health Check there was a great program the other day about the myths surrounding morning sickness and whether that meant you are having a girl or not. The program was fascinating which led us to think about some of the myths which surround dentistry nowadays.
These healthcare myths, including the one about morning sickness and girls, seemed to propagate from tiny elements of truth and get blown out of all proportion. So in this blog post with going to examine some of the dental myths and see how true they are.
To listen to the BBC programme please click here.
Dental myths and facts
MYTH people are no longer visiting NHS dentists.
FACT About half of the population in the UK saw an NHS dentist between 2009 and 2011. Government figures show this to be an increase of more than 1 million people three years earlier.
MYTH Kids today have worse teeth than their parents.
FACT The truth about this is that we were all born with the same healthiness of teeth. The difference today is that oral healthcare routines may not be followed through as people often think they are immune due to the presence of fluoride in toothpaste etc. Whilst science has improved there is still a need for children to look after their teeth.
MYTH Yellow teeth are unhealthy.
FACT The only link to darker teeth being more unhealthy is the fact that if your teeth are dark it is possible they have stains on them. This staining could be an indicator that your oral hygiene is not as good as it could be, and this can lead to teeth being unhealthy.
MYTH It is only the sugar in sweets and fizzy drinks that is bad the teeth, all other forms of sugar are okay
FACT Many healthy foods such as fruit contain sugar. The key is to eat all of food at mealtimes so that your saliva has time to deal with any sugar in the food. Avoid snacking between meals as this has a tendency to build up sugar again.
MYTH It is not necessary to brush babies teeth.
FACT Young babies need to have their teeth cleaned just as much as adults do, they are still prone to the same problems as adults. The other issue with not cleaning babies teeth is that they do not get into the habit, and this bad habit can then lead through to adult life.
MYTH Bad breath is only caused by not brushing your teeth properly.
FACT Most cases of bad breath are indeed caused by poor oral hygiene, however other reasons could be to do with digestion. Many dentists offer advice and guidance for bad breath, so please do ask your dentist who can analyse your own situation.
MYTH: Dentists don’t have enough time to deal with nervous patients.
FACT: Every dentist wants to help their patients keep and maintain their teeth for life. We realise that many patients are nervous and so most dentists are able to put some extra time aside to help with nervous or anxious patients. The other thing to bury mind is that anxious patients think they are going to get told off, a good dentist will never tell you off and will simply offer the best dental health advice.
MYTH: I haven’t been to the dentist for long time and I know they will be shocked at the state of my teeth.
FACT: During their training dentists are subject to a wide variety of oral healthcare problems. The chances of you being the worst case they have ever seen is highly unlikely. Dentists are also professional people and so will never make any comment about how bad your teeth are, their sole purpose is to help you back to good oral health.
MYTH: Having an injection at the dentist is extremely painful.
FACT: Whilst some injections are certainly more uncomfortable than others most of the time injections are relatively pain-free. Most dentists will use a topical anaesthetic gel to numb the gum prior to using the injection. Many dentists are also trained in advanced techniques when administering the injection and so are able to do so in a very gentle way.
MYTH: I’m nervous that when I’m in the dentist chair I have no control over what is happening.
FACT: For people that are anxious of the dentist this is a common fear, so your dentist is more than likely well versed in helping you. Most dental practices will agree a stop signal, so if you become uncomfortable or wish for the procedure to stop at any point a simple rays of the hand is all that is required to signal this to your dentist. If you are concerned about other things you wish to communicate to your dentist, please simply tell them before they start and you can agree a hand signal. This ensures you are totally in control and know exactly what is happening all the time.
MYTH: I’m not in any pain so I don’t need to go to the dentist.
FACT: The truth is that dental disease is silent and not painful. You will only notice any pain once the tooth disease is at an advanced stage, so it is always better to visit the dentist regularly who will then be able to spot dental disease and decay at a very early stage, and prevented before it gets too bad.
MYTH: Keeping teeth healthy is really difficult.
FACT: Looking after your teeth is actually quite simple, the key is in education and knowing exactly how to clean your teeth that the best result. This is where a dental hygienist, or a dental health educator comes into their own. They will be able to show you how to brush, often using an electric toothbrush and floss, so that you can look after your teeth and keep them healthy for life.
MYTH: Most problems with teeth disappear after a while if you ignore them.
FACT: unfortunately this is not the case, as we’ve said in a previous question dental decay is silent and you would not know it is there until it is at a more advanced stage. Tooth decay happens very slowly and so regular visits to the dentist every six month will be enough to pick up any problems. Please do not ignore any problems with your teeth, the truth is they won’t just go away.
Evolve Dentistry is a dental practice in Portishead on the outskirts of Bristol offering a wide range of general, cosmetic and dentistry for anxious and nervous patients including sedation.