Did you know that August is Oral Health Month in Singapore? When it comes to our health, oral health is often overlooked. In a 2012 survey by research company TNS, only 21% of Singaporeans indicated that they had positive ratings of their dental health.
As part of our mission to promote dental awareness, and in conjunction with Oral Health Month in Singapore, we thought we would start off with debunking some of the common myths about teeth… Read on below and let us know if these sound familiar …
- There is no need to clean/ brush milk teeth since they will fall out eventually anyway
FACT: Although children’s’ milk teeth will eventually fall out, it is important that young children do not develop tooth decay as the milk teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth.
Premature loss of milk teeth can have long-term implications, such as causing the nearby teeth to tip or shift into the space left unoccupied. When a permanent tooth subsequently grows into this space, there may not be enough room for the tooth to grow properly. The new tooth may then emerge tilted, causing crooked or misaligned teeth that can result in a range of problems from chewing abilities, speech problems, poor eating habits and a loss of self-esteem.
Having problem-free teeth will also result in a greater likelihood of a child having a positive experience visiting the dentist, and in the long term, result in healthier teeth and gums as an adult.
- I’ll need false teeth when I’m older
FACT: It is possible for a person to still retain most of their teeth when they are older. Dentures or other teeth replacement are not an inevitable part of ageing, provided a person maintains good oral care habits and visits the dentist twice a year. Being older does not mean you will lose your teeth naturally.
With more media awareness, better technology and higher education, it also means that people are more health-conscious to keep their teeth intact and have a better financial means to ensure that their teeth are maintained well for the long term.
- Pregnancy destroys gum and teeth
FACT: The level of hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, increase during pregnancy. This may give rise to an inflammatory response in the gums, making them more sensitive to the effects of bacteria. The gums would bleed more easily. This need not be the case if good plaque control is carried out through effective brushing, flossing and professional dental cleaning.
If a woman who is in the first trimester informs the dentist during her visit, the dentist could perform an examination to determine the state of her oral health and offer professional advice and instruction to help her maintain proper home care. When her pregnancy is more stable in the second trimester, she can then do a proper cleaning when she feels less nauseous.
- I have to see a dentist every six months
FACT: This is the recommended routine for your healthcare and wellness calendar as your dentist will be able to identify any dental problems before it worsens and becomes irreversible. With regular dental check-ups, it is easier to maintain the condition of your oral health. Addressing issues before they get complicated and will be more economical in the long term.
- The dentist will be completely shocked and appalled by the state of my mouth
FACT: Dentists are your partners in dental health – they help to ensure that your teeth and gums are in good order, and to help relieve dental pain. With better technology today, visiting the dentists can be a painless experience due to technological improvements and skills upgrades. Studies have also shown that the state of oral health is associated with overall general health. Dentists are able to identify tell-tale signs of certain medical conditions such as diabetes just by examining the state of one’s gums and teeth. We have experienced several cases where our gum specialist referred patients to a diabetes specialist after their dental appointment… when they were still undiagnosed diabetics.
An easy way to make sure you are on track to great dental health is to remember the three “Rules of 2’s”:
- Brush at least two times daily;
- Brush at least two minutes each time
- Visit the dentist at least two times a year
Have you visited your dentist this year?