In India, pediatric dentistry is one of the most neglected aspects of child healthcare. Instead of consulting qualified dentists, many parents try to solve gum and teeth problems of their children at home. More often than not, such DIY home dental treatments are ineffective – and lack of knowledge is one of the key reasons for that. There are several baseless myths related to dental health that many people still believe in. We will here put a few of these dental myths under the scanner:
“Sparkling White Teeth = No Dental Problems”
The misleading toothpaste ads aired on the tele have to take some of the blame behind the creation of this myth. Leading pedodontists in India have confirmed that children with pearly-white teeth might very well be having dental cavities, canker sores in the gums, and other such oral problems. It is also a misconception that foul mouth odor is associated with stained teeth. Taking children for regular check-ups at reliable local dental clinics is strongly advised.
“Dental Flossing Is Unnecessary”
If your child brushes his/her teeth properly twice everyday, you are probably not worried about flossing. However, regular brushing cleans only about 2/3rd of the entire tooth surface – and the rest, if not flossed, become ideal breeding grounds for bacteria, and resultant formation of plaque. Any good dentist for children in Kolkata would be able to show you the correct techniques of flossing, and you can pass on this knowledge to your child. Not flossing regularly is tantamount to keeping 33% of your kid’s teeth unclean.
“Frequent Brushing Damages The Tooth Enamel”
Well, it does – but only when you are using a hard-bristled toothbrush and/or are applying too much force while brushing. Experts from the top dental hospitals in India recommend the usage of soft toothbrushes for children. These can be used to brush the teeth practically any number of times during a day. Brushing twice in a day is mandatory…and ideally, you should ensure that your kid brushes after every meal.
“Dental Fillings Are Temporary”
This is just a sad excuse for not getting a filling done. Provided that the dental filling/dental implant surgery is performed by a reputed pediatric dentistry expert (with high-quality, medically-approved materials), the fillings can last for years. The lifespan of dental fillings also depend on the overall condition of oral health of the concerned person. Yes, fillings do not last a lifetime – but then, they are not meant to!
“Teeth Whitening By Bleaching Is Risky”
There is a general belief that dental bleaching, in some way, affects the tooth enamel. The basis for this myth is probably the translucent appearance of teeth after bleaching. However, it has been proved beyond all doubt that dental bleaching only affects the color of the teeth – and cannot affect the root or surface health of teeth in any way. The only thing you need to worry about is whether the bleaching agent is being used in the right quantities. If you book an appointment with a well-known dentist for your child, (s)he will take care of that.
“I Only Need To Worry About Permanent Teeth”
Baby teeth fall off when kids are 6-8 years old, and are replaced by permanent teeth. This, in turn, sprouts this myth (why worry about the set of teeth that would drop off anyway?). This is a very lackadaisical approach – since problems like baby bottle tooth decay, and tooth abscess are fairly common among infants. In case the baby teeth are irregularly spaced, there might be problems in the alignment of the permanent teeth – as and when they appear. Nearly 60% of cases of delayed formation of permanent teeth are also traced back to problems in the baby teeth. If anything, you need to be extra-careful about the well-being of your child’s first set of teeth.
“More Brushing Removes Bad Breath”
If only things were that easy! Bad mouth odors can sprout from a host of underlying problems – right from improper digestion, to complications in the gastrointestinal tracts. Improper/inadequate brushing should never be considered the sole possible cause of a smelly mouth. Get in touch with the experts at your dental clinic in Kolkata, and find out what exactly is causing this problem. If it is related to digestion problems, brushing 50 times a day won’t help!
“Consulting Dentists Is Necessary Only When There’s A Problem”
Have you heard of that old saying – ‘Prevention is better than cure?’ Taking care of your child’s teeth and gums should follow this adage. Get his/her teeth regularly examined by a proper pediatric dental specialist, to ensure that no problems have started rearing their ugly heads. Sadly, most parents do not bother consulting dentists before the oral problems of their children get too serious, and complicated dental restorations or root canal treatments have to be resorted to.
“To Get Relief From An Aching Tooth, Place An Aspirin Beside It”
Doing so can be very dangerous for the gums. Since Aspirin is acidic in nature, it can leave irreversible burn effects on the gums – without having any effects whatsoever on the toothaches your kid is suffering from. To be of any use, the Aspirin has to get mixed in the blood stream. However, instead of popping medicines on your own, getting the advice of a professional dentist would be a much safer, better option.
“Dental Problems Are Genetic”
In most cases, they are not. It is perfectly natural for a child to have cavities and bleeding gums, even when both of his/her parents have bright and healthy teeth. Similarly, if you have any persistent oral problem, it does not necessarily mean that the dental health of your child will be compromised. Only a qualified pedodontist will be able to tell whether your son’s/daughter’s teeth are okay – the condition of your own has precious little to do with it.
“Bleeding Gums? Brushing Has To Be Stopped!”
Yet another common folly. Gum bleeding is caused due to infections, plaque formation at the edges, and in certain cases, advanced periodontal diseases. In most cases, this has nothing to do with regular brushing habits. In fact, experts from Kolkata dental clinics advise brushing the teeth softly and flossing afterwards, whenever the problem of bleeding gums is seen. Of course, if the problem persists, you will have to seek medical help.
“Any Baby Toothpaste Would Be Good For My Kid”
Something that parents not in the habit of taking their children for regular dental consultations at clinics would believe. The fact is, very few of the advertised baby toothpastes have the requisite fluoride content (min. 1000 ppm). Using them, in turn, exposes your child’s teeth to the risk of serious tooth decays. You need to find out from an expert dentist for children as to which of the branded baby toothpastes would actually be good for your kid.
“Only Young People Suffer From Cavities”
Cavities are one of the most common pediatric dentistry problems – but that does not mean adults and elderly people cannot suffer from the same oral ailment. Many people are in the habit of taking certain prescription drugs, which cause excessive dryness in the mouth, leading to dental decays. Cavities can also be a fallout of receding gums in old people. There is no hard and fast rule about the age after which you are safe from dental cavities. They can occur to anyone.
“Too Much Of Sugar Is The Sole Cause For Dental Cavities”
This is wrong on two counts. First, it does not matter how much of sugary food your child consumes, but how long does that food remain in contact with the teeth. The bacteria inside the mouth reacts with the sugar to release an acid, that eats away the tooth enamel – resulting in dental cavities. However, if your kid brushes his/her teeth immediately after having sugary foods, such risks become minimal (overconsumption of sweets can lead to obesity, but that’s another matter). Secondly, carbohydrate in any form can cause this damage (think potatoes, fruits, bread, rice, etc.) – if proper attention is not paid to the oral health of a person. Sugar is one of the, but certainly not the only, causes of tooth decay. If brushing and flossing are done regularly, having that extra slab of chocolate won’t hurt!
“Sugar-free Chewing Gums Clean The Teeth”
No, they don’t. The sugar-free gums are meant to work as breath fresheners (for instance, they can give temporary relief from foul mouth odor) only. Parents should never think that having them is an alternative to regular toothbrushing habits. Gums cannot remove any type of accumulated plaque or bacteria or debris from recently eaten items – something only brushing and flossing can do.
There is a general perception about root canal treatments – that they are performed to cure dental cavities. The fact is, this oral treatment procedure is required to rectify any form of nerve damage in teeth. Widely spaced teeth need not necessarily be more prone to bacterial attacks – if the spaces between the teeth are kept clean. Stop believing in the above myths, and contact a local dental hospital in Kolkata for regular check-ups and consultation. That would be way more effective than your attempts at amateur home treatments.