In dentistry, we encounter many dental myths that patients may believe are accurate. Unfortunately, dental myths are spread in many ways, such as through media, pop culture, word of mouth and even by outdated research and misinformation in the dental community.
Always be sure to talk with your dental team to stay updated with all the latest and best recommendations for keeping your mouth healthy. There is one myth we often come across that seems to trump all and also be the most detrimental to the future health of our patient’s teeth. This myth is “white teeth are healthy teeth.”
We get it. When you look in the mirror and see straight white teeth shining back at you, it’s hard to believe there could be anything you’re missing. But cavities and gum disease can easily hide behind the false appearance of a beautiful smile. Cavities and gum disease, especially in their early stages, can fester behind the scenes for longer than you think, which is why your oral hygiene routine and routine visits to your dentist are pivotal in order to keeping your smile healthy.
Cavities occur when the sugars from your diet turn to acids and eat away holes in your teeth. They often appear in difficult-to-see areas, such as between your teeth and in the deep grooves on the biting surfaces of your molars.
When cavities are minor to moderate in size, you likely won’t be able to see or feel them. Only once they get larger, you may experience pain and see dark areas and even chips in your teeth forming. By this point, you could be at risk of needing a root canal or even losing teeth. White teeth do not necessarily indicate the absence of cavities.
To prevent cavities, brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and have routine professional dental cleanings.
Gum disease is inflammation of your gums due to the presence of bacteria. Gum disease begins as gingivitis and escalates into periodontitis, the supporting structures of your teeth. Bacteria form from the foods and drinks you consume and become a sticky substance called plaque.
When plaque is left to build up over time, your gums will try to fight back against it and become inflamed. Gum disease can cause inflammation, bleeding, swelling, gum pocketing and even loose teeth over time. Most of these conditions stay relatively hidden and are not immediately visible when you smile. Therefore, you can have gum disease lurking in the shadows even though your smile appears straight and white.
Be sure to maintain excellent oral health by routinely brushing and flossing your teeth, using a mouth rinse daily and seeing your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist can check for cavities as well as the health of your gums. So remember, not all straight white smiles are healthy.
The health of your mouth starts in the places you can’t see! If you have any questions, please contact us to book an appointment today.