Seven Common Dental Myths
There are common myths about your teeth which can create confusion and actually keep you from maintaining proper Manhattan dental health. Let’s take a look:
- “I don’t need to go to the dentist until I feel tooth pain.” Preventive care is very important in dentistry, because Dr. Lattinelli can often diagnose tooth or gum problems in their very early stages. This not only makes treatment simple, it usually is much less costly than when a major repair is needed later. Seeing Dr. Lattinelli twice each year for a routine cleaning will help prevent dental disease and pain later on.
- “I shouldn’t floss because it creates spaces between my teeth.” This is not true, flossing does not move your teeth and create spacing between them. Flossing is good for your teeth because it prevents tooth decay from occurring in the small spaces between teeth. If you have not been flossing regularly, you may notice some bleeding when you start. This will slowly decrease as your gums get acclimated to flossing. If you have not flossed regularly in some time we recommend you get a dental cleaning first because the floss may not successfully remove the tartar and plaque that has built up between your teeth. If you are flossing and see any continued bleeding contact Dr. Lattinelli because there could be a gum problem you aren’t aware you have.
- “It’s a baby tooth, no need to worry about it.” Baby teeth in children are very important. As a child grows, the baby teeth create the proper spacing for the permanent teeth growing below them. If a baby tooth gets a cavity or disease the child could lose the tooth prematurely, creating a space that could create future problems for the permanent teeth. If you suspect your child has a cavity or other problem with their baby teeth please make an appointment with us.
- “I brush every day but it doesn’t matter when I do.” Patients are encouraged to brush twice each day, but one of those brushings should occur before going to bed. When you sleep you produce less saliva in your mouth which provides a cleansing effect during the day. If you skip brushing before bedtime you are increasing the possibility of dental issues since food will remain in your mouth all night long. It’s also recommended you brush immediately after consuming high-sugar foods or carbohydrates which can create cavity-causing acids.
- “Diet sodas won’t cause any problems with my teeth because they have no sugar.” It is true that diet sodas don’t have real sugar, but what they do have is a very acidic chemical composition. Our mouths have naturally occurring bacteria which love acids. Therefore any diet sodas can increase the likelihood of these bacteria becoming active and contributing to tooth decay. The acidity of diet soda combined with the bacteria cause a gradual wearing away of the outer tooth enamel, resulting in increased sensitivity of the teeth. Every time you sip a diet soda it takes your mouth about 20 minutes to neutralize that acid, so every sip starts the process over again and again. Other acidic foods like orange or other citrus juices can have a similar effect.
- “There is no connection between the health of my mouth and the rest of my body.” To the contrary, the health of your mouth is very important to your overall health. Diseases of the mouth can cause bacteria to enter your bloodstream and affect your entire body. Dental disease has been shown as a link to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. Don’t ignore your mouth and teeth if they don’t feel well; they can make you sick.
- “My teeth are unhealthy because I am getting older.” There is no automatic correlation between age and dental health. If you make a lifetime effort to maintain your dental health you will likely have healthy teeth in later years. On the other hand, people who ignore dental care or eat poor food choices can see dental issues and loss of teeth at a young age. Make the commitment for you and your family and promote proper dental hygiene from a young age. Your teeth will thank you.
Dr. Lattinelli is always ready to assist you with your dental needs, so call our office at 212-752-7188 for an appointment. Don’t put off dental care, failure to address dental issues can affect you the rest of your life.