Dental Myths & Dental Facts


Dental Myths Debunked by Dr. Shamblott

Dental Myth: Only the sugar in sweets and desserts are bad for teeth.

Dental Fact: Many foods have natural sugars in them. Both natural and processed sugars can cause tooth decay if they stay on teeth. It is important to limit the amount of sweets you consume and to brush and floss twice a day.

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Dental Myth: There is no need to brush baby teeth.

Dental Fact: Even though all of your child’s baby teeth will eventually be lost, they still need to be brushed and flossed daily. This brushing and flossing is important to establish good habits early in life. Daily brushing and flossing also helps prevent cavities or tooth decay. Cavities in baby teeth can affect the development of the permanent teeth. Cavities in baby teeth need to be treated with fillings, root canals, and even crowns.

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Dental Myth: Everybody needs false teeth or dentures when they get older.

Dental Fact: Improvements in dental care allow more and more people to keep their teeth throughout their lives. With daily brushing, flossing and regular professional dental cleanings, examinations and treatment, it is reasonable to have your natural teeth throughout your life.

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Dental Myth: The only cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene (poor brushing and flossing).

Dental Fact: The majority of bad breath is caused by poor brushing and flossing, which leads to gum disease. Other causes of bad breath include smoking, certain foods and large dental infections or abscesses.

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Dental Myth: Some diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s can be cured by removing amalgam fillings.

Dental Fact: There is NO evidence that any medical conditions can be cured by removing amalgam fillings.

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Dental Myth: Using a toothpick creates gaps between teeth.

Dental Fact: Toothpick usage does not cause gaps or spaces between teeth. Spaces between teeth are frequently related to gum disease.

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Dental Myth: Whitening toothpastes actually whiten teeth or bleach teeth.

Dental Fact: Over the counter products are not effective for whitening teeth or bleaching teeth because they lack the strength and power contained in dentist-prescribed products. Ask about ZOOM whitening. Get whiter, brighter teeth in just one visit.

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Dental Myth: Brushing with salt will whiten teeth.

Dental Fact: Brushing with salt will not whiten teeth. It will cut the gums and rub away the outer layer of the tooth because it is so abrasive. Your teeth may look whiter, but they will be damaged and are likely to need repair.

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Dental Myth: Fresh lemon juice can whiten teeth.

Dental Fact: Lemon juice, fresh or not, will not whiten teeth. Lemon juice will erode the outer enamel covering of a tooth. This can cause sensitivity and rapid tooth decay. Your teeth may look whiter if you treat them with lemon juice, but they will get damaged and are likely to need repair.

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Dental Myth: All wisdom teeth need to be extracted.

Dental Fact: Wisdom teeth need to be extracted when there are issues with the teeth. Often a wisdom tooth needs to be extracted because the tooth is impacted, infected, has a cavity or decay, or there is not room for the tooth in the jaw bone.

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Dental Myth: Once a tooth has a filling or a crown, additional care is no longer needed for that tooth.

Dental Fact: In order to keep the tooth and the rest of your teeth healthy, twice daily brushing and once daily flossing as well as maintaining regular professional dental cleanings and examinations are needed. If proper brushing and flossing are ignored, the tooth will get decay under the filling or crown. This will require a new filling or crown and possibly create the need for a root canal.

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Dental Myth: Hard and soft bristled toothbrushes are the same.

Dental Fact: Soft bristled toothbrushes are preferred as they get teeth clean and do not damage the teeth or the gums. Hard bristled toothbrushes can cause gum tissue to shrink away and can wear away tooth structure.

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Dental Myth: If a patient is not having any dental pain, regular dental visits are not necessary.

Dental Fact: Routine visits for professional cleanings and examinations to check for dental problems are necessary. Finding and treating dental problems when they are small is a more comfortable and less expensive way to take care of your dental health.

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Dental Myth: Brushing alone is sufficient to keep teeth clean.

Dental Fact: Brushing is an important part of keeping teeth clean but flossing is crucial, too. Flossing removes plaque and food debris between teeth, which is an area that a toothbrush just can’t reach.

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Dental Myth: When your gums bleed, it is best not to brush or floss your teeth.

Dental Fact: Gingivitis or bleeding gums are a sign that your gums are not healthy. Inflammation of the gums occurs from plaque and debris accumulating around the teeth, especially in the pocket or sulcus of gum tissue around the tooth. When the pocket is clean and there is no plaque around the teeth, the gum tissue will start to heal and stop bleeding. Daily brushing and flossing in conjunction with professional dental cleanings and examinations will keep your gum tissue healthy and prevent bleeding.

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Dental Myth: Once teeth bleaching or teeth whitening is done, it will never need to be done again.

Dental Fact: Teeth whitening is not permanent. Bleaching touch ups are usually necessary every 1-2 years. The amount of time between touch ups depends on the amount of food or beverage that is consumed that would stain a white t-shirt. Smoking will also shorten the time between touch ups.

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Dental Myth: Tooth-colored fillings, veneers and crowns will get lighter with teeth bleaching.

Dental Fact: Teeth whitening only affects natural tooth structure. Any tooth-colored filling materials, veneers, crowns, bridges and partials will NOT change color with tooth whitening or tooth bleaching.

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Dental Myth: My parents did not have any cavities or dental problems, so I will not either.

Dental Fact: Genetics plays a small role in dental health. The main component in predicting dental health is the level of oral hygiene that a patient has. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, along with regular dental visits, will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

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Dental Myth: Chewing gum after a meal is a good substitute for brushing.

Dental Fact: Chewing gum after a meal, especially sugar free gum, can freshen breath but it is NO substitute for brushing and flossing.

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Dental Myth: During pregnancy, all dental procedures must be avoided.

Dental Fact: Professional dental cleanings can be performed at any point during pregnancy. However, routine x-rays should be avoided. Emergency dental care can be performed at any time with physician clearance.

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Dental Myth: Removing tarter or calculus will cause teeth to get loose.

Dental Fact: Removing tarter or calculus can make teeth feel light. This feeling is temporary. Not removing the tarter and calculus will result in gum disease. When gum disease gets severe, the bone holding the teeth in place is eaten away. This will make your teeth loose.

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Dental Myth: Dental insurance is similar to medical insurance.

Dental Fact: Dental insurance can help pay for some services in a calendar year. Unlike medical insurance, the maximum annual amount of dental insurance benefit is capped. Benefits typically range from $1,000 – $1,500 per year. Once dental insurance benefits are used for the year, no additional benefit dollars are available until the plan resets, which often occurs on January 1st. Any additional dental work becomes an out-of-pocket expense for the patient.

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Dental Myth: I should only get the dental treatment that is covered by my insurance.

Dental Fact: Dental insurance companies do not evaluate your dental needs. Dental insurance companies evaluate your insurance plan maximums, and the treatment that is recommended relative to your plan maximums. Dental insurance then covers some of your treatment, up to the plan maximum. Just because treatment is not covered by your plan does not mean the treatment is not appropriate for you.

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Dental Fact: At Shamblott Family Dentistry, we have an ethical obligation to diagnose and report our findings to our patients. The treatment recommendations we make are based on your current level of dental health and your desired treatment goals – not the type of insurance you carry (or even if you have insurance at all). We diagnose based on what’s best for you, not what’s best for your insurance company.

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Dental Myth: If a dentist is not on a particular dental plan, then insurance will not pay for any work performed by that dentist.

Dental Fact: We will submit a dental insurance claim on your behalf to most dental insurance companies. Many of them will pay a significant portion of your fee, even if we are not a participating provider.

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If you have other questions about dental care, Call Shamblott Family Dentistry today at 952-935-5599

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