This four-part article series sets out explaining and dispelling the many common myths and misconceptions surrounding oral health and hygiene and certain dental procedures.
Welcome back to our four-part article series in which we get Sun City dentists to explain and bust the various myths and misconceptions surrounding oral health, hygiene and dental treatment. In our previous article post, the second installment of the series, it was explained that it’s not sugar that causes cavities per se, but rather oral bacteria. These tiny critters feast upon the sugars left behind in your mouth after a meal and their subsequent proliferation and nasty excretions lead to cavities, decay and gum disease. It was also explained that osteoporosis, while a disease that affects the bones, can also lead to tooth loss, which is why proper nutrition and the correct medical management are so important.
Let’s continue busting the myths!
Dental Myth # 5: Using toothpicks actually causes the gaps between your teeth to become wider.
The Facts: “There are only two things we really want patients to know about toothpicks,” say Sun City dentists. “One... that using a toothpick after a meal should NOT replace brushing and flossing; toothpicks are there to clean bits of debris out from between your teeth to relieve discomfort and to prevent you from embarrassing yourself. Two... you must be careful not to injure your gums when poking about between your teeth. Toothpicks are quite sharp and you can actually make yourself bleed.”
Beyond these two points, there is nothing more to be said. Toothpicks do not widen the gaps between your teeth. How can they? They’re made of soft wood and your teeth are made out of the strongest substance in your body! Your teeth are also rooted firmly in your jaw, so it’ll take more than a toothpick or even a lifetime’s worth of toothpicks to affect their positioning.
Dental Myth # 6: If your breath smells bad, it means you’re not brushing properly
The Facts: “True, bad breath is most commonly the result of poor brushing habits and sloppy oral hygiene, but not always,” say dental implants specialists in Sun City. “Bad breath can actually be an indicator of systemic disease, such as diabetes. It can also be caused by the food you eat, respiratory tract infections and certain habits, such as smoking and drinking (alcohol).”
In the case of diabetes, the common side effect of halitosis is a result of the body burning fat instead of sugar for fuel (since diabetics, who do not produce enough insulin, are unable to process glucose). The byproducts of fat being burned are ketones, which are either expelled from the body via the bladder or via respiration. Unfortunately, ketones don’t smell very nice, which explains the halitosis.
The Solution: If you suspect that you may suffer from chronic bad breath, the best thing you can do for yourself is schedule an appointment with your Sun City dentist. Explain to him or her your problem and they will look closely for the cause. If your teeth and gums are in good condition and you maintain a high standard of oral hygiene, you may need to go see your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis. If you are a diabetic, you will need to use extra care in looking after your teeth and perhaps carry around some sugar-free chewing gum for those up-close-and-personal social situations.
To read more dental myths and misconceptions join us next week for the final installment of this four-part article series, courtesy of Sun City dentists.