The tenth edition of oral health myth series and its related facts.
A lot of my patients that I have encountered cannot easily link or differentiate between oral health and overall health.
It’s important to ask questions and for that reason, in this week’s article, I’ve combined some of the preconceived notions on dental health that I’ve come across.
This is the tenth of the oral health myth series and its related facts.
Oral health does not affect overall health.
When the gums are infected, bacterial byproducts can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and cause other problems.
Research findings suggest that such scenario may contribute to the development of heart disease; one of the leading causes of death, increase the risk of stroke, increase a woman’s risk of having a pre-term or low birth weight baby and pose a serious threat to people whose health is compromised by diabetes, or respiratory diseases or osteoporosis.
Stress does not cause problems in the mouth.
High levels of financial stress and poor coping abilities increase the likelihood of developing periodontal disease.
Researchers found people who dealt with financial strain in an active and practical way (problem-focused) rather than with avoidance techniques (emotion-focused) had no more risk of severe periodontal disease than those without money problems.
The primary reason for tooth brushing is to remove food debris.
Brushing twice daily and flossing will in addition keep the formation of plaque to a minimum. If not removed every 26 hours, plaque will irritate gums, which can lead to serious (periodontal) disease.
The more sugar one eats, the more teeth cavities she/he may get.
Teeth cavities depend on how long the sugar is in contact with the teeth in the presence of relevant bacteria, not the amount that was eaten.
Sugar free or diet sodas are better for the teeth.
Carbonated beverages are highly acidic and are worse for the teeth than sugar.
The best and healthier drink and beverage is plain water.
Myth 6: An individual should use a particular toothbrush as long as she/he wants.
Often the plastic tooth brush bristles become soft and furry from consistent use, therefore becoming less effective in cleaning the teeth.
But also if the tooth brush looks brand new after 3-4 months, there is something wrong. One is advised to brush at least two times a day for a minimum of two minutes.
Everyone needs to use mouth rinse
Preferably, everyone should brush the teeth and floss between them. Before starting a mouth rinse, one should consult with an oral health care provider.
Hard bristle toothbrushes are best.
Hard bristles or brushing too hard can wear down the tooth surface and cause gum recession leading to tooth loss.
If an individual does not have teeth cavities, she/he will not get gum disease.
Extreme sugar consumption, habits such as smoking, being too stressed, certain medication, obesity, heart disease, family history and poor nutrition can all cause gum disease. Treating gum disease early can help lower the risk of tooth loss.
The author is a dentist and a lecturer of Dentistry at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Muhas).