As dentists, you inform patients to brush at least twice a day, floss and regularly schedule visits to your offices for optimal dental health. However, with the millions of articles littering the Internet, patients could be stumbling upon articles about dental myths that they may take seriously. Here is a list of the most common dental myths circulating that may be lingering in the minds of your patients:
Myth #1: The more sugar you eat the more tooth decay a person can have. Of course limiting sugar intake can contribute to overall health, but the amount a patient consumes isn't the deciding factor in tooth decay. At any given time, there are over 500 different types of bacteria roaming a patient's mouth that thrive on sugar. According to an article from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine debunking common myths, the combination of the bacteria and sugar forms an acidic reaction that can lead to tooth erosion. The longer the sugar sits in a patient's mouth, the higher the chances of your patient developing tooth decay. Educating patients on proper brushing techniques and telling them to avoid slowly-dissolving candies will help minimize the chance of tooth decay.
Myth #2: Allowing aspirin to dissolve on a toothache will relieve pain. This statement is 100 percent false. In fact, putting aspirin directly on a tooth will do more harm than good. When aspirin is placed directly on and aching tooth or gums it can trigger an acidic reaction that can cause chemical burns on gums and lips. According to Medicines By Design, a publication by the NIH, aspirin needs to travel through the bloodstream in order to effectively block prostaglandins from sending pain signals to your brain.
Myth #3: Bleaching teeth weakens enamel. There really isn't any proof that backs up this statement. In fact, in a study recently published in the June 2012 edition of JADA, researches found that home-use and in-office bleaching gels did not alter the concentrations of calcium and phosphorus concentrations on the enamel surface in vivo.
Myth #4: Brushing bleeding gums will only worsen the problem. At first glance, it seems like this one is a true statement and can really fake your patient's out. Focus on what really causes gums to bleed in the first place: plaque and food particles. According to the American Dental Association and their new helpful guide for patients, MouthHealthy.org, the removal of plaque and food particles can be achieved by gently brushing along the gum line and remembering to floss daily.
Myth #5: Halitosis is only caused by poor brushing techniques. This one isn't exactly a myth, but it isn't true either. Of course poor brushing, or no brushing, can certainly lead to bad breath. It can also be caused by gum disease as well as other serious ailments. According to a study conducted by the University of Buffalo's School of Medicine, diet and stress are also contributing factors.
Are there any other myths that you routinely hear about from your patients?