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Four Teeth Myths Debunked

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Myth or truth? It’s been said that George Washington wore wooden teeth!

Myth #1: If you have great oral hygiene habits, you don’t have to visit the dentist regularly. 

You may consistently floss. You may brush your teeth twice daily. Maybe you even take into account your eating habits and how that can affect your teeth.

Even if you have excellent dental hygiene, and believe you have no issues, it isn’t a good idea to skip a dentist visit. At a regular visit, your dentist doesn’t just look for tooth decay. Dentists will also be looking at your face, neck, lymph nodes, tongue and your jaw. Dr. Hagen is trained to examine your gums to see how they’ve changed, to look for any signs of gum disease, and of course to check on your fillings! We can’t stress enough the importance of early detection when it comes to preventing tooth loss or oral cancer.

Not only is there an examination phase, but most of us are a bit more aware of the dental cleaning phase. The importance of this phase is that it allows your dentist to remove long-term plaque and tartar that even great daily habits can’t totally diminish.

Myth #2: If your gums bleed when you floss, you shouldn’t do it anymore. 

Let’s first start with a refresher on why our gums are so important…it may seem simple enough, but our gum tissue is vital since it holds our teeth in place. Flossing, in turn, helps stimulate our gums.

When you notice that you have bleeding associated with your flossing, it could be a signal of several things. First, it could mean the gum is sensitive (perhaps because it hasn’t been flossed in a while). Or, it may be the first signs of gum disease. The good news is that your teeth will get conditioned to the stimulation of floss… And of course, there’s always floss made to be more sensitive on your gum tissue. We don’t mean to suggest you shouldn’t take bleeding as a serious sign–if you do have excessive and/or abnormal bleeding, it’s a good idea to call your dentist.

Myth #3: Mouthwash can replace flossing.

You see it shown in commercials, and it seems valid enough: mouthwash can get to the places that your toothbrush can’t…so it must be able to replace flossing, right? Wrong!

Sure, the fact that it’s an antibacterial liquid does mean it can kill bacteria around and between your teeth, but recall that flossing not only stimulates your gum, but it acts as a scraper, taking off food, and leftover plaque that is on your teeth. This simply can’t be replaced by using mouthwash.

Myth #4: Root canals have to be a high-anxiety, painful experience.

Let’s define the term that we’ve been taught should make us cringe: a root canal is the procedure done when there is no other way to save a tooth that might be very decayed or infected. Your pulp and nerve are removed from the center chamber of the tooth (the root canal), and then the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

The surprising truth is that most people do not report pain during a root canal procedure! The source of the excessive pain usually comes from the tooth that needs the root canal because it is suffering from an irreversible condition, such as tooth decay, not the procedure itself. So if there is any cringing, it would be before your procedure! Some people compare it to having a filling placed, and most people are back to performing their normal activities just the next day. Remember: the purpose of a root canal is to alleviate pain and salvage your tooth.

Have any other topics you believe could be a dental myth? Let us know on our Facebook page.