As an Williamsburg dentist office, we are regularly asked questions about oral health. Many of them are routine in nature, with patients wanting to know how long they should brush their teeth, when they should floss, and the best type of toothpaste to use. We encourage these and all types of questions because it allows us to share information with you about how to stay in good health. One thing we have found is that these discussions will often include questions not based on science, but on popular myth. Sometimes, these myths can have health consequences. For example, there is a myth that baby teeth do not matter since they will eventually fall out. Living by this mantra can cause your child to get cavities, toothaches, and to experience discomfort in general. For this reason, we have compiled a list of common myths so you can know the truth.
Myth – Adults do not need to visit the dentist unless they have a toothache.
This is a dangerous myth, because adults, like children, are susceptible to tooth decay. As an Williamsburg dentist, we encourage all our patients to have their teeth cleaned and examined twice a year. This gives us the opportunity to clean and examine the tooth, so the proverbial cavity and subsequent toothache do not develop.
Myth – Root canals are only to treat infected teeth.
As an Williamsburg dentist office, we perform root canals on a regular basis. While they are very often used to treat an infected tooth or one with a cavity, they are also used to treat a root that has been damaged due to an accident, procedure, or general trauma. Root canals work extremely well to deal with these issues, and we do them in a way that is comfortable.
Myth – Only sugar causes cavities.
Actually, sugar does not directly cause cavities. It can increase the risk of them developing, though, because bacteria live inside your mouth. When you eat or drink anything high in sugar or starch, the bacteria will feed on it and colonize the teeth, creating plaque. Plaque can then secrete acid onto your teeth, and the acid can work to erode and attack them. Over time, this can lead to the creation of a cavity. This is why it is important to avoid any foods high in sugar, starch, or acid. For example, stay away from soda, candy, and eating too many crackers. Since this can be difficult to do, we encourage you to rinse your mouth after eating or drinking, brush three times a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and visit our office for a bi-annual teeth cleaning.
Myth – Oral cancer only happens to older people.
As with all types of cancer, your risk increases as you age. While men over the age of fifty are at the greatest risk of developing oral cancer, it can impact anyone. We recommend that you have an oral cancer screening once a year, and if you use chewing tobacco or smoke cigarettes, you may want to be screened twice per year.
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