When Polina was about six months old, her mother Marina noticed a tiny white speck emerging from her daughter’s gum line. Polina was anything but a fussy child, but now that she was teething, she was refusing to eat. She drooled through bib after bib, and was obviously miserable. Beside herself with worry, Marina relayed her concerns to her mother, who had immigrated from Russia to the states with her husband before Marina was born. In Russian, Marina’s mother explained what she needed to do – “Dip a cheesecloth in some vodka and run it over Polina’s gums. Then let her suck on the cloth ‘til she calms down.” Marina nearly dropped the phone. Regaining her composure, Marina told her mother that she was not going to give her baby 100 proof Russian vodka. “I did it with you,” her mother said, “and you turned out just fine!”
Every family has a story that transcends generations regarding dental health. If any of the following dental myths have entered your family lore, here are some facts to set the family straight.
Good teeth run in my family!
Your beautiful smile may resemble that of your favorite aunt. Maybe that trademark gap between your teeth can be traced back generations. But the truth is, you inherit good dental habits from your family more so than good teeth. So don’t blow off the brushing if your parents never had a cavity, but you can keep the tradition going by keeping up the brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups.
The harder you brush, the deeper the clean
In theory, this makes sense. You scrub the floor until it gleams. You use steel wool to scrub a blackened pot. But aggressively brushing your teeth can only do damage by breaking down the gum tissue and scraping off enamel. The same is true with toothbrushes. Dentists recommend a soft or medium brush for your teeth. Forego the elbow grease and opt for gentle swirling motions to loosen food and gently stimulate gums.
Gaps or spaces between your teeth makes is good for your teeth
The old school of thought was that gaps between your teeth reduced the chances of getting cavities, made brushing easier, and practically eliminated the need to floss. Those myths have been busted, big time, which is why so many adults who never had braces as a child are getting them now. While brushing may be more convenient if there are gaps between teeth, that’s what floss is for. Imagine the keystone of an arched bridge. Each stone in the arch supports the other, making the arch strong. Teeth are the same way; they need all the support they deserve, and should never stand alone!
Dental treatment during pregnancy
Many expectant moms marvel at the new-found luster in their hair and strength in their nails. Wouldn’t this be true of teeth as well? Why even go to the dentist if you are taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy and drinking lots of milk? That could be true, if you don’t consider some very valid points. First, pregnancy may bring with it morning sickness. The acids produced through vomiting can wreak havoc on your teeth, eating away at enamel. Hormones also play a big role in the formation of gingivitis. Studies by the American Dental Association show that in certain cases, severe gum disease, or periodontitis, may even impact a baby’s birthweight which could result in premature birth. If you are pregnant, don’t skip the dentist.
Baby teeth are temporary, so why bother
Baby teeth may be temporary, but neglecting them could do permanent damage. In fact, baby teeth are actually place holders for their adult teeth that are growing under the gums. And if you think it’s ok to let a baby fall asleep with a bottle of juice in her mouth, think again! The sugars and acids are having a field day as baby sleeps, attacking both teeth, and gums. For a lifetime of dental health, your baby should see the dentist well before the Tooth Fairy pays her first visit.
“Old School” Silver Fillings are best
While classic cars never go out of style and vintage clothes are all the rage, you may want to have your old-school silver filling checked out before it’s too late. Silver fillings – also known as amalgam fillings – usually have a life no more than 20 years. And, while highly effective and strong, they can become loose or may act like a wedge and crack the tooth. Additionally, silver filling may contain mercury. In fact, the term “amalgam” means a mixture or blend of metals. When you visit your dentist, be sure to remind him when you got your fillings. If they have been there for a long time, it may be time to have them replaced.
Stop Flossing if your gums start to bleed
One might think that you should stop flossing if your gums start to bleed. Believe it or not, that is your cue to floss more! Bleeding gums are the result of the presence of plaque or food debris and actually a sign that your need to floss. Continued flossing will strengthen your gums and the bleeding should cease. Much like you might get a callous on your palm after a day of bike riding, you don’t stop riding, you let it heal and toughen up.
When it comes to your dental health, you shouldn’t rely on myths and shared advice. Look to the friendly staff at Dedicated Dental to help you bring out your best smile. And that’s the truth! Call them at 702-551-5199 for a consult or appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.