Unless you’re a medical professional or someone who takes a special interest in health, there’s a good chance you have a few misconceptions about your body’s wellbeing, especially in relation to your dental health. Several widely-believed myths are not just wrong, they’re dangerous. Believing that they’re true leads people to adopt unhealthy habits that cause serious problems for their pearly whites.
So it’s time to debunk some of the harmful myths you may be operating under.
Pretty Smiles Are Healthy Smiles
It’s easy to assume that a pretty white smile is not just toothpaste commercial quality on the outside, but also a dentist’s dream inside. The truth is that even the most sparkling smile can have problems lurking below. The old saying is definitely true here – you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Many oral health issues do not rear their ugly heads in appearance or sensation. The reason dentists recommend twice yearly check-ups is not just for good deep cleanings. Some problems can only be detected in a professional dental exam. So even if you have a traffic-stopping smile and feel fine, you need to have regular check-ups to check for things like cavities, decay, gingivitis, and even oral cancer.
Celebrity Smiles Are Real
Just as air-brushed photos of celebrities can cause us to have unrealistic expectations about our physiques, they can also give us major smile envy. A huge number of uber famous actors, models, and even political figures have flawless teeth that make us feel like our own naturally imperfect ones are lacking.
In reality, though, most celebrities have naturally imperfect smiles just like us. The difference is that many of them opt for veneers, which are exactly what they sound like. Veneers are customized covers that fit over teeth to create a perfect, uniform look. They are ideal for covering up stains and correcting unevenly shaped or sized teeth. Though celebs pay big bucks for top-of-the-line veneers, there are several affordable options out there for regular folks looking for a red carpet ready smile.
More Sugar, More Problems
It’s understandable to think that someone eating 10 pieces of candy in one short sitting is doing greater harm to their teeth than someone who just pops one piece in their mouth every couple of hours. The opposite is actually
It’s understandable to think that someone eating 10 pieces of candy in one short sitting is doing greater harm to their teeth than someone who just pops one piece in their mouth every couple of hours. The opposite is actually true, though. If you’re going to indulge in a sugary treat, it’s better to consume it all in one go than to stretch it over several hours or over the course of a day.
Each time you take a bite of something sweet, you release bacteria-causing sugar that go to work on your teeth for a given period of time. So in that regard, one bite is the same as twenty. The amount of sugar doesn’t matter. The presence alone is what makes a difference. So if you have a treat (or 10) and rinse with water or brush your teeth afterwards, you’ll be much better off than drawing out your indulgence and giving the sugar multiple opportunities to do damage.
The Way You Brush
Most of us learned to brush our teeth before we even learn to read and we’ve been engaging in the activity twice a day for decades. So you probably take it for granted that you know how to brush. But the method that many people use is not only ineffective, it can be quite harmful. Rough, long, back and forth strokes don’t do the job of getting between teeth, and if you brush too hard, you may be wearing away precious enamel. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush and keep it in one spot as you gently jiggle it back and forth, allowing the bristles to get in between the teeth. Then shift to the next section and do the same thing on the fronts, backs, and tops of your teeth. Watch this quick tutorial to see the technique in action.
Dental Health is Isolated
Remember the old kid’s song that went, “The hip bone’s connected to the backbone?” Well, it’s true. All your parts are connected, including your teeth and gums. Research has shown a correlation between oral health, heart health, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.
Though it may not be entirely clear if there is causation or just association, it’s clear that one can impact and even worsen the other. So, next time you’re thinking of neglecting your dental health, remember that you’re also neglecting your overall health.
One of the biggest factors of taking good care of yourself is knowledge. The more you know, the more likely you’ll be to make good choices and practice healthy habits that will benefit you for many years to come.
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