Many decades ago unqualified dentists (quacks) provided certain dental treatment that was not based on scientific principles and along with this kind of assumption based treatment, myths developed which became imprinted in people’s minds. Dentistry today is an advanced specialized branch of medical science based on scientific facts. Research in dental science has led to better understanding of oral diseases and a systematic approach to treatment based on facts became established.
Many myths persist concerning dental care (oral hygiene) and tooth bleaching. In an attempt to put to rest some of those misconceptions, faculty members in the College of Dentistry, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Dr. Daniel Marinic, offer the following:
Oral Hygiene Myths and Facts
It doesn’t make any difference what type of brush one uses – soft bristles or hard, they’re all the same.
“A soft bristle brush is much preferred . . .,” indicates Doug Hall, assistant professor of periodontics. “Improper brushing with a hard bristle brush may cause damage to both the gum and teeth.”
Up and down or sideways, it doesn’t matter how one brushes.
“People always should use a rolling and circular motion when they brush their teeth,” Hall emphasizes. “Using a sideways scrubbing motion, especially with a firm brush, can drive some of the gum tissue away and, in time, may affect the tooth structure itself.”
Regular visits to the dentist aren’t necessary, as long as you’re not having problems with your teeth.
“Preventive maintenance for your teeth is cost effective,” notes Michael Rohrer, assistant dean for research. “For example, a small cavity in a molar can be repaired with a simple filling for around $50-100. If the problem is allowed to continue, however, and the decay gets into the pulp of the tooth requiring a root canal and a crown, the costs can soar to around $1000.”
Flossing really isn’t necessary after a good brushing.
“Use of dental floss definitely helps prevent gum disease because brushing removes only about half of the plaque from the surface of a tooth,” points out Robert Carson, chairman of the Department of Periodontics. “To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, it is necessary to physically remove bacteria from between the teeth–something a toothbrush can’t do.”
You can’t floss too much or too hard.
“While a conscientious effort should be made to lower the floss beneath the gum line comfortably until it meets resistance, it’s not good to force the floss under the gum line until it hurts because that could cause damage to the gum tissue,” Carson says.
It’s okay to use an aspirin to battle a toothache.
“It’s dangerous for (laymen) to make up their own home remedies without consulting a dentist,” Hall warns. “People who don’t have regular dental treatments often put an aspirin in the cheek pouch next to an aching tooth to get relief. The problem is that aspirin is acidic, and tissue burns result.”
Braces are an unnecessary expense for adults.
“Braces improve self-image and self-confidence and can lead to better jobs and more fulfilling lives,” states Ram S. Nanda, chairman of the Department of Orthodontics. “It’s true in the business world that good-looking people are favored more, and braces can greatly enhance a person’s appearance. Also, braces serve an important health function because irregular or crooked teeth and a poor bite can predispose people to gum disease, tooth decay, and temporomandibular (jaw) joint disorders.”
When the gums bleed, it is better not to brush the teeth.
Bleeding of gums is a sign that they are inflammed and are not healthy. This usually is a result of plaque and food particles accumulating around the teeth. Until this collection is removed, the gums continue to bleed. This is an indication that the individual needs to visit a dentist for opinion and treatment. Brushing the teeth with a soft toothbrush by the proper technique removes the plaque and helps the gums recover. Initial bleeding seen during brushing gradually reduces over a period of time.
Children don’t have to worry about flossing their teeth, as long as they brush after every meal.
“Children also should use dental floss, especially after they have all of their permanent teeth in place,” Carson stresses. “It’s important for [them] to floss because gum disease usually starts at an early age, although it may not show up for several years. Although children aren’t as prone to gum disease as adults are, they have more decay problems and flossing certainly helps prevent tooth decay.”
Tooth Whitening Myths and Facts
Now that my teeth are lighter, I will never have to do it again.
The color stability depends on how well you clean your teeth, the frequency of consuming foods or beverages that stain, and if you have kicked the smoking habit. In most cases it takes much less time to do a touch-up than the original whitening process
Tooth whitening will make all my teeth, fillings, veneers, crowns and bridges white.
Tooth whitening only makes teeth whiter. No whitening products affect crowns, bridges, veneers, bonding and fillings. Be careful… otherwise you may end up with light teeth and dark restorations. Also, if you require any dental work, consider tooth whitening before you begin treatment, so that your crowns and other restorations can be made to match your newly whitened teeth!
Only a dentist can get my teeth their whitest.
During the past seventeen years we have tried every type of tooth whitening system available. Since the fee for teeth whitening was quite expensive, we felt obligated to stay on top of the latest tooth whitening techniques.
In a comprehensive university-based double blind study (dentist and patient did not know which product they were using) of all major tooth whitening systems, published in a peer-reviewed journal (Compendium), I was shocked to find out the results.
Statistically there was no difference between home teeth bleaching and dentist tooth bleaching for the vast majority of the patients. This was very humbling. From that point on, after examining patients and verifying that their mouths are healthy, recording the existing teeth color and helping patients set realistic expectations, I started recommending over-the-counter tooth whitening products.
People of all ages can whiten their teeth.
The tooth nerve chamber is very large in children and adolescents. Because of this, they may experience an increased sensitivity, and are more likely to have problems. We do not recommend tooth whitening for children
Do not believe to everybody, keep your teeth and mouth healthy!
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