No doubt about it, our mouths are important. We use them to talk, eat, drink, smile, and so much more. But how much do you really know about taking care of your mouth? There’s a lot of information out there, and not all of it is accurate. Take this true or false quiz to see how much you really know about oral health.
- The harder you brush, the better.
False! Often people think that the harder they brush, the cleaner their teeth will be, when in fact brushing too hard can cause damage to the gums. Instead of brushing harder, focus on your technique. To clean the front teeth, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree and lightly move it back and forth in short, gentle strokes. Use the same technique to brush the inside, outside, and tops of the molars. Pay special attention to the back, hard-to-reach teeth and the areas around fillings or crowns. Also, make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush because they are much gentler on your teeth and gums. Overtime, hard-bristled toothbrushes can be responsible for brushing away the enamel from your teeth.
- Bleeding gums are not normal.
True! While bleeding gums are common, especially after flossing, they are an indication that something isn’t right. The most common explanation for bleeding gums is gingivitis, a gum disease that occurs when plaque is not adequately removed from the teeth and gums. The bacteria from the plaque buildup causes a mild infection and brings about the symptoms of gingivitis, primarily sore and bleeding gums. Fortunately, gingivitis is often reversible by practicing good dental hygiene.
- Kids’ baby teeth still need care.
True! Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out, it is still very important to take care of them. Tooth decay in baby teeth can actually affect the adult teeth under the gums. In addition, children must learn how to take care of their baby teeth so that they will be prepared to take care of their adult teeth. Even with a drooling, teething baby, get in the habit of brushing his teeth every morning and every night. And once your child’s baby teeth begin touching, you should start flossing her teeth daily. Equipping kids with good oral care habits from an early age is crucial to their overall health.
- Eating too much sugar will cause cavities.
False… and true! This one is a bit of a trick question. You have likely heard that eating too much sugar will cause cavities, but it is actually the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth that causes decay. The sugars you eat and drink cause bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that eat away at the enamel on your teeth. As enamel—the outer protective layer of the tooth—begins to wear away, the decay gets worse, eventually causing a cavity. It’s important to note when you do eat or drink something sweet, rinse with water but don’t brush immediately. The enamel is weakened due to the acid being produced and could be washed away if you brush too soon. Instead, wait approximately 20 minutes, then brush your teeth.
- If you aren’t having any problems, there’s no point in seeing a dentist.
False! The best way to avoid problems such as cavities and gum disease is to visit a dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup twice a year. By the time you’re having problems, there may already be major damage. Not only will a professional hygienist be able to clean your teeth more thoroughly than simply brushing and flossing will do, but your dentist may be able to identify problems or trouble areas before they get worse. If you are looking for a dental care provider, we would love to help you at Cornerstone Family Dentistry, so please schedule an appointment with us today!