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Six Dental Myths

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Six Dental Myths
Brushing, flossing, and twice-yearly dental check-ups are standard for oral health care, but there are more health benefits to taking care of your pearly whites than most of us know.
In a review article, a faculty member at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) debunks common dental myths and outlines how diet and nutrition affects oral health in children, teenagers, expectant mothers, adults and elders.

Myth 1: The consequences of poor oral health are restricted to the mouth
Expectant mothers may not know that what they eat affects the tooth development of the fetus. Poor nutrition during pregnancy may make the unborn child more likely to have tooth decay later in life.

Myth 2: More sugar means more tooth decay
It isn’t the amount of sugar you eat; it is the amount of time that the sugar has contact with the teeth.
“Foods such as slowly-dissolving candies and soda are in the mouth for longer periods of time. This increases the amount of time teeth are exposed to the acids formed by oral bacteria from the sugars,” Palmer said.

Myth 3: Losing baby teeth to tooth decay is okay
It is a common myth that losing baby teeth due to tooth decay is insignificant because baby teeth fall out anyway.
Palmer notes that tooth decay in baby teeth can result in damage to the developing crowns of the permanent teeth developing below them.
If baby teeth are lost prematurely, the permanent teeth may erupt malpositioned and require orthodontics later on.

Myth 4: Osteoporosis only affects the spine and hips
Osteoporosis may also lead to tooth loss.
Teeth are held in the jaw by the face bone, which can also be affected by osteoporosis.

Myth 5: Dentures improve a person’s diet
If dentures don’t fit well, older adults are apt to eat foods that are easy to chew and low in nutritional quality, such as cakes or pastries.
“First, denture wearers should make sure that dentures are fitted properly,” Palmer said.

Myth 6: Dental decay is only a young person’s problem
In adults and elders, receding gums can result in root decay (decay along the roots of teeth). Commonly used drugs such as antidepressants, diuretics, antihistamines and sedatives increase the risk of tooth decay by reducing saliva production.
“Lack of saliva means that the mouth is cleansed more slowly.
This increases the risk of oral problems,” Palmer said. “In this case, drinking water frequently can help cleanse the mouth.”



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