Patients of our San Francisco dentist office regularly ask questions about oral health. While some are more common in nature, like what toothbrush is the best to use and "how long should I brush my teeth," others are based on popular myths. It is normal for myths to circulate from time to time, but when they do, they can create misconceptions that are actually bad for your health. For example, parents have sent their children to bed with a cup or bottle of milk for decades, thinking that this was a good idea. Milk, however, is full of sugar, and leaving that sugar on the teeth increases the risk of cavities developing. This has led to baby bottle tooth decay in many children. Myths like these can be dangerous, and so we have created a list of a few common ones here.
Myth – Only children get cavities.
It does not matter how old you are, if you have teeth, you can get cavities. In fact, babies often suffer from baby bottle tooth decay, as mentioned above, and seniors often get cavities caused by dry mouth. It is important to have your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year and to brush and floss daily to prevent them.
Myth – Cavities are caused by sugar only.
The truth is that you can get cavities for a variety of reasons. At our office, we like to explain how they develop in the first place. Your mouth is full of bacteria. When you eat or drink anything that contains sugar or starch, the bacteria can grow and spread, creating plaque. The plaque on your teeth can secrete an acid that begins to attack them, leading to decay. You should be careful to avoid anything particularly high in sugar, starch, or acid. This includes candy, soda, sugary pastries, refined bread, pasta, and even lemons. Unfortunately, doing so is not always very practical, so you should remember to rinse your mouth with water after eating and drinking. Also be sure to brush three times a day with a fluoride toothpaste that will strengthen your teeth.
Myth – Root canals are only for infected teeth.
As a San Francisco dentist, we perform root canals to remove the infection and to treat damaged roots. The roots of the teeth are sensitive and can become damaged in an accident, from grinding or clenching your teeth, or by having too much dental work completed close together. In any case, we perform the procedure in a way that is comfortable and efficient.
Myth – Eating a raw diet is good for your teeth.
Extreme diets can be bad for your body, and a raw diet is no different. Raw diets are typically very acidic. This makes it important to rinse and brush with fluoride on a regular basis.
Regardless of what oral health questions you have, visit our dentist office so we can keep you in excellent oral health both now and in the future.