We have all heard about the mind & body connection, but how much do we know about the mouth & body connection? Beyond giving you a visibly great smile and a boost of confidence, the health of the mouth mirrors the overall health of the body.
The World Health Organization states that 2 in 100,000 people died of Oral Cancer in 2010. Oral Cancer, although the final stage of poor oral hygiene, is definitely not uncommon in this part of the region. Dental conditions like tooth decay and cavities are the most common causes of tooth loss. Every individual has been instilled with the concept of ‘brushing twice daily’ since childhood, yet an overwhelming number of people have cavities and decay on their tooth. There are various misconceptions about dental care and oral hygiene that cause oral hygiene practices to be gravely misunderstood. People often tend to believe what they hear about dental hygiene and follow the same without consulting with a dentist first.
A few of the common misconceptions and myths of oral hygiene are:
- No visible problems with the teeth means that they are perfectly fine
Fact: This is no reason to skip a visit to the dentist. It is recommended to visit a dentist at least every 6 months to check the teeth externally and internally in order to ensure that the teeth remains healthy, strong and free of oral health issues.
- Tooth brushing is to remove the minute food particles accumulated in between the teeth
Fact: Apart from removing the leftover food in between teeth, regular tooth brushing helps reduce the buildup of plaque on the teeth. If not cleaned at an interval of 24 hours, the plaque begins to irritate the gums.
- Consuming sugar in any form damages the teeth and causes cavity.
Fact: Almost everybody has the notion that ‘sugar is bad for teeth’, while this is partially true, it is not sugar in itself that causes tooth decay. The decay is caused when the sugary substances linger onto your teeth for a long time. The mouth has bacteria that also feeds on the sugar, then producing an acid as a byproduct. It is this acid that damages the teeth
- White teeth mean strong and healthy teeth.
Fact: People often believe that having shiny white teeth is equivalent to having good oral hygiene. However, they often fail to realize that cavities and plaque could be developing in areas of the tooth that are not visible to the naked eye. There is also a chance that people with healthy teeth could have darker teeth as the color (shades of white) differs from person to person.
- Bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene.
Fact: This statement is partially true, however, having excellent oral hygiene practices may not necessarily cure the problem of bad breath. An unclean tongue, unhealthy dietary practices are also contributors to bad breath.
- Sugar-free drinks are good for oral health.
Fact: Sodas, cola, sports drinks etc. can cause dental erosion like their sugary counterparts because of their composition, they are still acidic. They may not cause cavities directly but they cause for the outer layer of the tooth to become chalky and cause it to become sensitive.
- Consult a dentist only if there is a problem with the tooth
Fact: Do not wait until a problem develops and worsens to consult with a dentist. Schedule a visit to the dentist at least twice a year in order to understand the status of your oral health.
- Flossing is not important
Fact: Flossing is an essential and easy way to maintain oral health. This is one additional step of oral hygiene majority of people tend to disregard. Despite brushing the teeth, bacteria build up can continue to occur if flossing is not made a practice. There are places of the tooth that a toothbrush cannot reach.
- A visit to the dentist needs to be made only twice a year
Fact: A dentist consultation is generally recommended once every 6 months. However, this may not hold true in the case of everybody, some people may require much more frequent visits and others may require less frequent check-ups. Only your healthcare practitioner can estimate this for you.
- Brushing is much more important than Flossing
Fact: Brushing and flossing are two different ways of keeping your teeth clean. Flossing is as important as brushing the teeth. Skipping flossing means ignoring 30% of the tooth surface.
A major contributor to maintaining good oral hygiene is your individual willingness to establish a healthy dental routine and maintaining it. Plan your visit to a dentist soon and make sure you know all that’s going in your mouth in order to be able to brush up your dental hygiene practices.
Aster Clinic, Al Muteena (DMPC)