Dental Myths and Misconceptions #1

Like any industry, dentistry is full of rumours and misconceptions about what and what isn't the best for your oral health.

In this series, we will be correcting some of the more popular misconceptions about your smile. Hopefully, this will allow you to take care of your smile, and avoid any unwanted problems.

Myth #1 - If you're not having a problem, you don't need to see a dentist

Many people tend to think that if they don’t have pain or an obvious problem with their teeth, then there is no point in visiting a dentist. Whilst this can sometimes work out, dental check-ups are not just for when you are having a dental problem.

Think of it as an MOT or service on your car.

Just because there is nothing obviously wrong whilst you drive doesn’t mean that something might not be happening underneath that may cause you problems in the future.

Allowing a dentist to check for problems before they become an issue is always a better idea than waiting for a problem to present itself. After all who enjoys coming to the dentist, let alone when you are in pain.

The dentist is not just checking your teeth either during a dental exam. Whilst they may be the dominant feature within the mouth and exam also covers your soft tissues, such as tongue, cheeks and gums as well as your jaw movement and sinuses to make sure everything is working as normal.

Regular check-ups also spot easy to fix problems before they cause you any pain, or become expensive!

If we can spot a small hole just as is starts to develop, we can normally fix this is around 15 minutes and often without any anaesthetic. But if the problem sits unnoticed, I can grow to something that is more difficult to fix and most importantly more expensive!

Myth #2 - Rinsing after brushing

Rinsing after Brushing It’s very common after brushing your teeth to find yourself rinsing out with water to feel fresh and remove any excess minty flavour in your mouth.

What you really end up doing is removing any lasting fluoride that is re-mineralising the enamel on your teeth. Fluorides main job is toothpaste is to make sure that your enamel stays hard and strong against any acid and plaque that is present in your mouth.

This process takes place over the course of about 15 minutes, longer than it takes to brush your teeth. So if you rinse this residual fluoride coating with water immediately after brushing your teeth you are stopping this process from happening!

Just wait a few minutes before having a drink after brushing.

Myth # 3 - My tooth was hurting before, but now the pain has gone away I don’t need to see the dentist

Whilst similar to dental myth #1, it bears having its own advice! Not only is this normally a terrible idea but ignoring any tooth pain or trying to overcome the pain can lead to serious health consequences.

Tooth pain is often a result of a dental cavity having made its way through your tooth enamel, and into the pulp or nerve of the tooth. As the nerve is infected it begins to be damaged by the bacteria and starts to “die”. This, of course, causes significant pain.

However, once this process has finished the nerve is dead and can no longer transmit pain, though the infection is still very much present.

Even though you can no longer feel any discomfort, the infection is still causing your body problems, leading to abscess or infections elsewhere in the body if left untreated.

These issues can therefore often cause more severe problems than the tooth pain in the first instance.

If you experience tooth pain, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, and try to avoid cancelling an appointment if the pain subsides.

Page last updated: 10 Jan 2020  12:10PM