Dental Myth Busters

Myth #1:  “Baby teeth don’t matter because they fall out anyway.”

Baby teeth are necessary for chewing and eating, but they also play a critical role in the alignment and positioning of the future adult teeth.  Premature loss of baby teeth can lead to severe crowding of adult teeth and deficient skeletal development of facial bones.To prevent premature loss of baby teeth, parental involvement is essential in daily brushing and flossing ofchildren’s teeth, establishing healthy dietary habits, and regular dental visits.

Verdict: Busted!


Myth #2:  “Silver fillings are unhealthy because they contain mercury.”

Mercury is a major component in metal amalgam fillings, and its safety is a heavily contested issue worldwide.  Currently, the FDAdoes not support a complete ban on dental amalgam stating the amount of mercury used in fillings is negligible, and there is no definitive evidence that mercury leads to adverse health effects in the general population.  However, they do concede that mercury vapor can enter the body through inhalation and may be harmful to certain high-risk groups includingchildren under 6, people with neurological or kidney dysfunction, people with metal allergies, and nursing mothers or women who are pregnant or planning on pregnancy.Additionally,amalgam is completely bannedin several European countries, and the European Union recently banned amalgam in children and pregnant and nursing women.

My 2 cents:Why use a controversial, potentially unhealthy material in the body when there is a safe alternative?  Tooth-colored, composite resin fillingshave been successfully used for decades, and in my opinion,resin is a beautiful,  superior and versatile material.

Verdict: Plausible!


Myth #3: “Tooth whitening damages enamel.”

Pigments from food and drink get trapped in the enamel surface pores of teeth leading to darkening anddiscoloration.  Professional tooth whitening systems remove these pigments along with water molecules found in the pores essentially dehydrating the enamel.  This dehydration process can lead to temporary, mild tooth sensitivity until the enamel is rehydrated.  Therefore, no permanent damage is done to the enamel and whitening is 100% safe.

Verdict:  Busted!


Myth #4:  “Mouthwash is an acceptable substitute for brushing and/or flossing.”

If only it were that easy!  While mouthwash is a great way to freshen breath and temporarily decrease bacteria in the mouth, it is nowhere near as effective at removing food remnants, sugar and plaque as good old fashion brushing and flossing.

Verdict: Busted!


Myth #5:  “Electric toothbrushes are better than manual toothbrushes.”

Not all electric toothbrushes are created equal, but overall, it has been definitively proven that the rotating, oscillating, and vibrational movements are more effective at cleansing the teeth, stimulating the gums, and removing plaque than manual toothbrushing.  I recommend electric toothbrushes to all my patients.

Verdict:  Confirmed!