Printer Friendly

Clearing up mouth misconceptions.

Many myths persist concerning taking care of one's teeth. In an attempt to put to rest some of those misconceptions, faculty members in the College of Dentistry, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, offer the following:

It doesn't make any difference what type of brush one uses--soft bristles or hard, they're all the same. "A soft bristle brush is much preferred . . .," indicates Doug Hall, assistant professor of periodontics. "Improper brushing with a hard bristle brush may cause damage to both the gum and teeth."

Up and down or sideways, it doesn't matter how one brushes. "People always should use a rolling and circular motion when they brush their teeth," Hall emphasizes. "Using a sideways scrubbing motion, especially with a firm brush, can drive some of the gum tissue away and, in time, may affect the tooth structure itself."

Regular visits to the dentist aren't necessary, as long as you're not having problems with your teeth. "Preventive maintenance for your teeth is cost effective," notes Michael Rohrer, assistant dean for research. "For example, a small cavity in a molar can be repaired with a simple filling for around $50. If the problem is allowed to continue, however, and the decay gets into the pulp of the tooth requiring a root canal and a crown, the costs can soar to around 900."

Flossing really isn't necessary after a good brushing. "Use of dental floss definitely helps prevent gum disease because brushing removes only about half of the plaque from the surface of a tooth," points out Robert Carson, chairman of the Department of Periodontics. "To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, it is necessary to physically remove bacteria from between the teeth--something a toothbrush can't do."

You can't floss too much or too hard. "While a conscientious effort should be made to lower the floss beneath the gum line comfortably until it meets resistance, it's not good to force the floss under the gum line until it hurts because that could cause damage to the gum tissue," Carson says.

It's okay to use an aspirin to battle a toothache. "It's dangerous for [laymen] to make up their own remedies without consulting a dentist," Hall warns. "People who don't have regular dental treatments often put an aspirin in the cheek pouch next to an aching tooth to get relief. The problem is that aspirin is acidic, and tissue burns result."

Braces are an unnecessary expense for adults. "Braces improve self-image and self-confidence and can lead to better jobs and more fulfilling lives," states Ram S. Nanda, chairman of the Department of Orthodontics. "It's true in the business world that good-looking people are favored more, and braces can greatly enhance a person's appearance. Also, braces serve an important health function because irregular or crooked teeth and a poor bite can predispose people to gum disease, tooth decay, and temporomandibular [jaw] joint disorders."

If your gums bleed, it always means you have gum disease. "Many people are alarmed when they first start using floss and their gums bleed," Carson says. "They think they have gum disease or that they may be causing damage, but that's not always the case. The gums bleed because they're irritated, and if a person will continue to floss regularly, the bleeding should subside within one or two weeks as the gums become healthier."

Children don't have to worry about flossing their teeth, as long as they brush after every meal. "Children also should use dental floss, especially after they have all of their permanent teeth in place," Carson stresses. "It's important for [them] to floss because gum disease usually starts at an early age, although it may not show up for several years. Although children aren't as prone to gum disease as adults are, they have more decay problems and flossing certainly helps pervent tooth decay."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Society for the Advancement of Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:teeth
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Words:636
Previous Article:Tiny video camera aids hand surgery.
Next Article:A problem that just won't go away.
Topics:


Related Articles
Keeping teeth and gums healthy.
Dental health.
Dental health.
Patients' dental misconceptions.
Oral-B Brush-Ups wipe breath clean: portable, disposable mouth wipes eliminate 'fresh mouth' anxiety.
vital: Brush up on your smile; YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEND A FORTUNE TO HAVE A SET OF PEARLY WHITES.SIMPLE ORAL HYGIENE WILL DO THE TRICK.
vital: Brush up on your smile; YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEND A FORTUNE TO HAVE A SET OF PEARLY WHITES, SIMPLE ORAL HYGIENE WILL DO THE TRICK.
how often do you talk to your kids about oral hygiene?

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters