Myths About Our Mouths: Hygiene Fables Exposed
USA- New York, NY | Aug 6 2012 | (23:06:15 - EDT)
A healthy smile is priceless: it’s infinitely more attractive than an uncared-for mouth (puffy, bleeding gums and discolored teeth do not a beautiful smile make) and the deep relationship between oral health and overall health cannot be overstated.
The problem is that between long-held, yet mistaken views of oral care (did you know that flossing isn’t the cure-all many believe it to be?) and the fact that about 40 million Americans avoid seeing a dentist due to dental anxiety and phobia every year, most of us have oral health habits that leave much to be desired. The top three myths encountered by the specialists at The Diamond-Schlesinger Group and what you can do about it will surprise even the most conscientious oral care patient.
MYTH #3 - Tooth loss has everything to do with teeth, and nothing to do with gums.
According to Dr. Greg Diamond - a periodontist in practice for over 20 years at The Diamond-Schlesinger Group, a fixture in New York City’s medical community, and a favorite among patients - the number one cause of lost teeth and health complications is gum disease.
“Periodontal disease is sneaky. It can develop in no time in even the least likely candidates including young, healthy men and women, and is often painless and a general dental exam simply is not adequate to identify deep pockets between the teeth and gums that are often the hallmark of gum disease,” Dr. Diamond says. “Very few people visit a periodontist until the situation is dire and the tooth usually can’t be saved - in fact, I’ve treated countless who were referred to a periodontist by their general dentist but still didn’t go because they weren’t in pain at the time or simply because they forgot. We want people to understand the role that gum disease plays in their oral health in order to avoid such avoidable situations.”
MYTH #2 - Floss for oral health
In what might be the most controversial of the myths debunked at The Diamond-Schlesinger Group, Dr. Diamond’s partner, board-certified periodontist and professor at New York University’s College of Denstistry, Dr. Mark Schlesinger says that regular flossing will not make or break a patient’s oral health.
“The truth of the matter is that in some cases, patients who floss regularly feel a false sense of security. I often see patients whose gums have been injured by overzealous flossing and it’s a misnomer that flossing can help prevent gum disease,” states Dr. Schlesinger, going on to explain just what flossing’s capabilities are, and what patients can do instead. “The benefit of flossing is to remove stuck particles of food from between teeth, no doubt an important job, and as long as patients do not expect any more from their floss, they’re in a good position. Patients must remember to rinse with water after each meal and to have regular cleanings and exams, in order to ensure their oral care needs are being met.”
MYTH #1 - Treating gum disease is a pain in the neck. Literally.
By far the most common myth keeping patients out of periodontists’ offices is that the treatment of periodontal disease is painful, even referred to as “traumatic.” This just isn’t the case thanks to advances in technology and sedation dentistry.
According to Dr. Schlesinger, the use of Erbium laser technology - the only laser proven to effectively treat advanced gum disease – has made a big difference, “There is far less bleeding, less trauma to surrounding tissue, the patient often requires less anesthetic, recovery time is reduced and the disinfectant quality of lasers is especially valuable in periodontal therapy where eliminating harmful bacteria is critical to successful treatment.” Finally, the use of the water-based laser eliminates the sound of the drill - often the most fear-inducing part of dental treatment.
“Anyone can get gum disease. Pregnant women, women who use oral contraceptives, and children who wear braces are some of the most surprising populations at heightened risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, gum disease is a particular threat to the health of those who have, or are at risk of developing, heart disease,” cautions Dr. Diamond, adding that periodic periodontal exams are a vital part of oral, and overall, health.
Dr. Diamond or Dr. Schlesinger would be happy to answer any questions about gum disease and oral health, as well as go into further detail about the top three myths of oral health. Some other common myths include the belief that certain foods can ward off gum disease, that teeth grinding is strictly the result of stress, and that mercury fillings are dangerous.
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