Misconceptions surrounding dental health pose some of the greatest challenges to dentists and dental clinics. These professionals cannot keep all patients happy and healthy without patient support; they require help from the patients to optimize results in care. Educating patients to eliminate misconceptions goes a long way in establishing or improving overall dental health, which in turn has a positive impact on overall physical health.
Misconceptions regarding dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, leave many patients confused at dental checkups. Many believe that cavities are more common in children, which is far from true. Cavities can occur in any mouth with teeth, whether a child, adult, dog, or cat. Another misconception regarding cavities is their cause, with many believing that cavities come from sugar. While this is somewhat true, table sugar is not the only type of sugar consumed. Any carbohydrates consumed will breakdown into simpler sugars, and all of these can lead to increases in cavities, including carbohydrates from pasta and bread.
Despite the wide availability of dental floss, most dentists have patients that never touch the stuff! Patients complain about floss causing their gums to bleed, but in reality the gums bleed partly from not flossing. Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease or inflammation in the gums. Patients that have sufficient brushing habits, brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, experience far less gum irritation and bleeding than those that are less diligent with their at-home oral health habits. These brushing and flossing patients also tend to have easier checkups when visiting the dentist.
More serious misconceptions about dental health can lead to major health concerns. Periodontal disease, for example, if left untreated or if treated insufficiently, will progress and in advanced stages the bloodstream can carry the bacteria from the gums to the heart causing cardiovascular problems, among other potential risks. Likewise, non-dental illnesses and treatments can negatively affect teeth, bones, gums, and other aspects of oral health, leading to discoloration in teeth, weakened bone structure, bone loss, dry mouth, slow healing, or even tooth loss.
Discussing all health concerns with the dentist can improve treatment efforts for better dental and physical health. When patients treat dental health as important to overall health, and vice versa, the whole-body approach to treatment and preventive care is greatly improved. For more information about dental health, contact our skilled specialists at Balcones Family Dental today!