11 myths about dental health that need to be demolished right away

Can a tooth extraction affect the eyes? Do braces hurt? Every day dentists in India encounter several beliefs that have no basis in science.

Myupchar October 14, 2019 18:28:59 IST
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11 myths about dental health that need to be demolished right away
  • No, removing a tooth from the upper jaw does not affect the eyes at all

  • Vigorous brushing won't make your teeth cleaner but it can lead to abrasion

  • Regular flossing along with proper brushing can prevent the accumulation of calculus on teeth

Can a tooth extraction affect the eyes? Do braces hurt? Every day dentists in India encounter several beliefs that have no basis in science. Let’s separate the science from fiction once and for all, and look at 11 common myths that should have no room in the 21st century:

Myth 1: Dental cleaning can cause sensitivity.

Fact: Dental cleaning or scaling is a non-invasive procedure, required in cases of excessive accumulation of plaque (sticky colourless bacterial deposits on the surface of the tooth) and calculus (hardening of plaque) on teeth. Calculus or tartar on teeth forces the gums to recede. Scaling exposes areas of the teeth that were previously covered with tartar, thus exposing the tooth roots. This might cause temporary sensitivity which resolves in a day or two.

11 myths about dental health that need to be demolished right away

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

Sensitivity toothpaste containing potassium nitrate can help to reduce sensitivity.

Myth 2: Dental cleaning can lead to tooth mobility.

Fact: Unless a person is suffering from periodontitis (a serious gum disease that damages the gum and bone supporting the tooth), scaling does not lead to mobility of the tooth.

Regular dental checkups and scaling every six months can help in preventing periodontitis.

Myth 3: Do not brush your teeth if your gums bleed.

Fact: Bleeding gums is a classic sign of inflammation of gums, clinically known as gingivitis. Bleeding is caused due to deposits of plaque in the gums surrounding the tooth. Proper brushing after dental scaling is recommended in gingivitis or it can lead to periodontitis.

Myth 4: Cleaning teeth involves the removal of enamel (the upper layer of teeth).

Fact: Cleaning or dental scaling does not require any anaesthesia and is done with the help of an ultrasonic scaler. Ultrasonic scaling involves mechanical vibration of the scaling tips, which are blunt, along with continuous irrigation with water. It is used to remove hard calculus from the surface of the tooth and does not affect the enamel or any oral tissue.

Myth 5: Removing a tooth from the upper jaw can hamper your eyesight.

Fact: No, removing a tooth from the upper jaw does not affect the eyes at all. The nerves associated with eyes are the optic nerve, the oculomotor nerve, the abducent nerve and the trochlear nerve whereas nerves related to the upper jaw are the posterior superior alveolar nerve, the greater palatine nerve, the nasopalatine nerve and the infraorbital nerve. The nerves of the upper jaw are totally unrelated to the nerves of the eye.

Myth 6: Removing wisdom teeth affects the brain.

Fact: Wisdom teeth are the third and last molars on each side of both jaws. They can erupt between the age of 18 to 26 years. Since they usually appear much later than the other teeth, at an age where people are probably "wiser", they are called wisdom teeth. Removal of wisdom teeth does not have any effect on the brain.

Myth 7: The harder you brush the cleaner your teeth get.

Fact: Vigorous brushing won’t make your teeth cleaner but it can lead to abrasion. Abrasion is the loss of hard tooth surface caused due to incorrect brushing. It can lead to severe sensitivity. When it comes to brushing your teeth, the technique you apply matters more than the strength.

Myth 8: Braces hurt.

Fact: Braces are put on the top surface of the teeth with the use of a material called composite. It is a painless procedure and does not require any anaesthesia unless there is a need for extractions.

Myth 9: Infants do not require any oral care as they don't have teeth.

Fact: An infant’s oral care is as important as that of an adult. Cleaning of an infant’s mouth using a damp or wet gauze piece after every session of breastfeeding is important to ensure that no residual milk is remaining in the oral cavity.

Myth 10: Brushing for children is not necessary until they turn 4 or 5.

Fact: Brushing should be encouraged immediately after the eruption of milk teeth in the oral cavity of children (6-8 months onwards). Brushing of teeth (without toothpaste) is necessary after bottle-feeding because bacteria in the oral cavity thrive on the sugar present in the milk and make acids that attack the teeth. It can lead to Nursing Bottle caries in milk teeth which are a form of tooth decay.

Myth 11: Flossing is not important if you brush twice a day. 

Fact: Regular flossing along with proper brushing can prevent the accumulation of calculus on teeth. Flossing helps in the removal of food particles that get stuck between two teeth and can potentially lead to cavities.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read Cavities: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis.

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