Dental services are the most-claimed health insurance extras category. In fact, at around $607 million of benefits paid by health funds each year, dental claims are almost three times the value of the next most-claimed extras item (optical).
It’s such an important facet of our health that not only do we have World Oral Health Day in March, but we have Dental Care Week in August every year as well!
Why it’s important to know the truth about oral hygiene facts
Overall, oral diseases and oral health issues are estimated to affect around 3.9 billion people every year, so it’s worth taking the time to give a little bit of love to our teeth! However, there is often a lot of anxiety associated with anything health related, so Dental Health Services Victoria reckons that it’s time to debunk some dental myths to get you more comfortable and familiar with oral health.
Here’s some cold hard oral hygiene facts to sort out what’s true and what isn’t when it comes to your teeth.
Dental Myth 1: If my parents have bad teeth then I will have bad teeth
First up, your parents having bad teeth isn’t a sign that you will too. Most aspects of your oral health will be completely dependent on your own set of genes, which is a combination of your parents’ best genes and all of their ancestors genes.
That being said, according to Dr Deborah Cole from Health Services Victoria, the influence genetics has on your teeth is minimal, and prevention is the key to good oral health.
Dr Cole advises, “The main key to having a healthy mouth is to take care of them.” This means regular brushing, not too many sugary drinks and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Dental Myth 2: You don’t need to take care of your kids baby teeth
If you’re a parent of a young child, there is a myth suggesting that you don’t need to take care of their baby teeth as they’re all planned to fall out anyway… But that’s less of an oral hygiene fact and more of a dental myth. While a child’s teeth will eventually fall out, the teeth on the way do need to grow through, and you want to keep your child’s oral health in good shape for when that happens.
The same goes for the oral health of your pets!
Dental Myth 3: Woman may lose their teeth during pregnancy
One of the most bizarre dental myths is that pregnancy puts you at risk of losing your teeth. While there are some pretty drastic changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy, losing a tooth would not be one of the expected changes when you’re expecting.
That said, it’s perfectly safe to go to the dentist while pregnant, so don’t neglect your oral health during those vital nine months. Whether you’re pregnant or not, a dental check-up is on the list of check-ups to get done at least yearly.
Dental Myth 4: I should replace my toothbrush if I’ve been sick
Whether it’s the common cold or something a little more serious, a common dental myth is that you should replace your toothbrush following an illness. According to Dr Cole, though, this isn’t the case with a virus. In general, you can’t give yourself the same illness twice, because your immune system has already built up antibodies against it when you had the illness the first time.
However, don’t store your toothbrush near the toilet
You may want to consider repositioning your toothbrush cup. Dr Cole mentions that, “Water splashing from the toilet can contain airborne bacteria which can make you sick if it reaches your toothbrush.”
So if you were looking for some incentive to redecorate and rearrange your bathroom, you may have just found it.
Dental Myth 5: Diet soft drinks are safe for my teeth
There are also some dental myths ripe to be busted for those who are a little too know-it-all about oral hygiene. When it comes to sugary drinks and energy drinks, it is true that they can wreak havoc on your teeth if consumed too frequently thanks to the high sugar content. However, diet soft drinks can be just as bad, due to a high level of acidity that Dr Cole says can weaken tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay.
The oral hygiene facts are the same whether you’re drinking regular or diet soft drink – remember to brush your teeth about a half hour after drinking, and you’ll be good to go. And if you’re the sporty type, the same goes for sugary sports drinks.
Talk to your dentist
Modern dentistry is constantly advancing, and is focused on catering to the individual needs of the patient. Provided you’re communicating with your oral health provider and are doing the best upkeep you can at home, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your dental duty.