Fact or fiction: Debunking eight dental myths

Fact or fiction: Debunking eight dental myths
For 10 years, the staff of Sun Smile Dental in San Marcos has been offering friendly, caring general dentistry services.

SAN MARCOS — Information about oral health can be as misunderstood as it is necessary.

Dr. Shishir Shah of Sun Smile Dental recently took some time to address eight common dental myths and explain how what you might think is true is actually not.

Myth 1: Cavities are only caused by sweets.

“Technically, cavities are caused by carbohydrates interacting with bacteria on your teeth to create acid byproducts,” Dr. Shah said. “Carbs include sugars. Sugars do promote cavities, but they can easily be caused by crackers, potato chips and bread. Sugars can create ‘bacteria on steroids’ effects.”

Myth 2: Children are more prone to cavities than adults.

“Kids and adults are both prone to bacterial infections,” Dr. Shah said. “It is just that kids are not brushing as well as some adults.

Teach yourself and your kids good brushing techniques, which you can learn at your dentist’s office, and the bacteria will stop attacking your teeth.”

Myth 3: My teeth are fine if I have no pain.

“Decay can eat clear through your enamel and dentin before some people feel it at all,” Dr. Shah said. “Pain signals from teeth, gums or mouth are a sign that serious, not beginning, dental problems may have already occurred.

The true miracle of modern dentistry is disease prevention. Catching tooth decay early typically allows more of the tooth to be saved, and can spare you added discomfort and expense.”

Myth 4: If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing.

“Actually, that’s a really bad idea,” Dr. Shah said. “Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to lack of efficient cleaning.

That is a sure sign that you should seek dental care ASAP.”

Myth 5: Dental treatment is too expensive.

“The best way to keep dental expense down is to practice disease prevention,” Dr. Shah said. “Start with visiting your dentist at least twice a year, and follow the instructions given for your oral hygiene care at home.

A dental checkup and two cleanings a year are recommended to help detect hidden disease. Rectification of severe dental conditions is obviously more expensive than corrections of beginning disease conditions.”

Myth 6: Old age leads to dentures.

“There are 20-year-olds who need dentures and there are 90-year-olds who have lost a few teeth,” Dr. Shah said. “Both are not uncommon. The answer is oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings and check-ups, starting from a young age.”

Myth 7: My insurance should pay for everything.

“Here are some facts about dental insurance: dental insurance only pays for a portion of the dental bill,” Dr. Shah said. “Employees of the same company may have different coverage. Even if two insurances are in effect, a co-payment may still be necessary. Every policy has a deductible and co-payment. Dental insurance does not contain enough yearly maximum benefits to cover major dentistry.”

Myth 8: Having a tooth pulled is an easy process.

“When teeth are mobile because of gum disease, removal is easy and may be a better option,” Dr. Shah said. “Often teeth need a good amount of force to remove and can be difficult when the roots are buried, twisted, hooked, infected or close to a nerve, which can cause more problems.

“Moreover, once a tooth is removed, it causes problems with the adjacent teeth and bone as they go through a missing tooth syndrome.”

Dr. Shaw pointed out that your greatest weapon against tooth decay is knowledge. “Your dentist is the best resource you have to get all the knowledge you need. Please ask questions and get options for your dental treatment from your provider.”

Sun Smile Dental offers early morning and late evening appointments to accommodate busy schedules and offers 24-hour emergency care. They are located at 1582 W. San Marcos Blvd. Suite 201.

For more information about the services offered and to learn more about the Sun Smile team, visit sunsmiledental.com or                          call (760) 744-1300.

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