As with any health arena, dentistry and oral health often has myths attached. Here are several of the most common and the truths behind them.
1. Poor dental health affects only the mouth.
Poor dental health in children often contributes to a poor diet, as foods that are healthier are often denser and hard to chew. These combined can lead to poor development and growth. Poor nutrition in expectant mothers can also cause a higher likelihood of tooth decay and cleft lip and palate in their child.
2. Eating more sugar leads to more tooth decay.
It is not the amount of sugar that matters, but the amount of time the sugar is in contact with the tooth. Sugars in hard candies and soda linger in the mouth longer, which causes more tooth decay.
3. Osteoporosis does not affect the teeth.
Most people think of osteoporosis as confined to the hips and spine, but it can also lead to tooth loss, since teeth are held in the mouth by the face bone. The face bone can also be affected by this disease.
4. Dentures improve the quality of life.
They can, if fitted properly. However, if they are uncomfortable or difficult to wear, they can cause people to eat unhealthy foods that are softer and easier to chew.
5. Tooth decay is not a problem in older adults.
Receding gums can cause tooth decay in older adults, causing root decay. Receding gums can be caused by a number of saliva-reducing medications. Diabetes is also much more common in older adults, and contributes to periodontal disease and decay.