This week includes World Oral Health Day, and here is some info on the importance of caring for our mouths
- Young children don’t need to see a dentist
FALSE . More than half of children under the age of four don’t see a dentist. Children should begin seeing their dentist as soon as their first teeth start coming through.
- Always brush your teeth before breakfast
TRUE. Foods containing citric acid, like oranges and grapefruits, weaken tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after eating and early in the morning will brush away plaque bacteria that has developed during the night which could be fed by sugar or acid in food, causing further softening of the enamel.
- Mouth ulcers are harmless
NOT ALWAYS . While ulcers are usually more ¬uncomfortable than dangerous, the sores which appear on the cheeks, lips and tongue should always clear up within a week or two.
But if a mouth ulcer lasts longer than three weeks you should get it checked by a dentist or doctor urgently as it may be a symptom of something more serious like cancer.
- Gum disease can cause Alzheimer’s
UNLIKELY. Some studies have found higher levels of a bacteria linked to gum disease but not for Alzheimer’s, yet.
- Milk teeth don’t matter – they fall out anyway
FALSE . The milk teeth act as a guide for our adult teeth to grow through in the right place. If you lose your milk teeth early due to factors such as tooth decay, the adult teeth coming through can go ‘rogue’ and start emerging in the wrong places in the palate.
- Brushing without toothpaste is best
MAYBE. A study by the American Dental Association discovered that “dry brushing” – not using toothpaste – is more effective at removing plaque than brushing with toothpaste.
- Bad breath is caused by gum disease
NOT ALWAYS. While bad breath is often an indicator that you might be suffering from gum disease, it could also be a warning sign of other serious health issues.
Halitosis can be a symptom of acid reflux, a bowel obstruction, digestive issues or even diabetes.
- Regular flossing can prevent heart disease
TRUE. According to research funded by the British Heart Foundation, people with gum disease are at risk of developing coronary heart disease. When you have gum disease, up to 100 million bacteria can live on a single tooth. It also causes gaps to form next to teeth, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Researchers have found dental bacteria in the heart, where it can attach to arteries and valves, as well as causing inflammation. You can prevent problems by brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing daily, and looking out for signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums.
- Mints are the secret to fresh breath
FALSE. Leaving sugar in the mouth for extended periods of time can lead to an accumulation of sticky plaque on the teeth and encourage the growth of bacteria.