Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dental Care - Myths and Realities of Tooth Care

There are a lot of misconceptions about dental care. Here are a few information’s that would help you fight the myth and know the reality.

MYTH: Teeth once extracted do not need to be replaced.

REALITY: If the missing tooth is not replaced by an artifical tooth, the tooth next to the missing one, over a period of time, tip over into the empty space. This would create more space in between the remaining teeth. Food will then get accumulated between the remaining teeth resulting in tartar and decay.

Further, the pressure from chewing will not be properly distributed among the remaining teeth. This would destroy gums and bone and result in an unhealthy change in the chewing pattern of the patient. Hence an artificial fixed replacement or a removable replacement is mandatory.

MYTH: Cleaning of teeth by the dentist causes loosening of teeth or gum damage.
REALITY: This is a popular misconception among many individuals. Professional dental cleaning entails removal of food debris, stains and tartar, followed by polishing of the teeth. This may initially cause a slight soreness in the gums and tooth sensitivity. This is however, temporary and would go soon.

MYTH: Brushing as hard as possible prevents stains and tartar accumulation.
REALITY: Brushing of teeth in the correct manner, that is, the upper teeth in a downward direction and lower teeth in an upward direction, without applying pressure, will certainly benefit the teeth. However, brushing hard in a horizontal sweeping manner, will affect the enamel adversely. This would lead to dental sensitivity and the tooth may break at the neck.

MYTH: Dental fillings last life long.
REALITY: There is not a single dental filling material that would last life long. Fillings have to periodically be evaluated by the dentist.

MYTH: Dentures, once made, are permanent.
REALITY: Removable, complete or partial dentures are usually made of acrylic or related materials and rest on the soft tissues in the mouth. The soft tissues and bone change with time and denture also wear out. Therefore, it is mandatory to get the dentures periodically evaluated by the dentist and replaced accordingly. Also, never try to repair your own dentures at home.

MYTH: Milk teeth do not need professional dental care, since they are anyway going to fall.
REALITY: Milk teeth act as the foundation stone on which a healthy, permanent tooth would develop. If the milk teeth become infected due to severe dental decay, they need to be extracted. The infection from the decayed milk tooth can affect the healthy development of the permanent tooth.

MYTH: Ulcers, red areas and white areas can be ignored until they cause unbearable pain.
REALITY: These are signs of cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions. So consult your dentist and do not ignore these troubles.

MYTH: Heat fomentation relieves toothache.
REALITY: Never apply heat to the affected area. This aggravates the problem and leads to diffusion of the swelling to massive proportions.

MYTH: Eating sweets and sticky chocolates causes dental decay.
REALITY: Chocolates and sweets do not cause decay by themselves. If you brush immediately and effectively after eating sweets, then nothing can stick to your teeth and cause them to decay.
Courtesy: Indian Express, Health Supplementary

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