Interesting Dental Facts & Myths To Address With Patients
While dental care has undergone a transformative evolution to become modern and practical, it’s intriguing to note the abundance of fun facts and enduring myths surrounding dental hygiene.
Even today, many dental patients believe in old wives’ tales that can prevent them from receiving the best dental care and maintaining proper hygiene.
In this article, we will address common dental myths, misconceptions, innovations, and traditions, as well as some fun facts about oral hygiene to share with your patients.
Fun Facts About Dental Hygiene
Before diving into dental myths and misconceptions, let’s look at some interesting facts about dental hygiene.
- Tooth Enamel: After diamonds, tooth enamel is the second hardest compound in the world. Though strong, enamel can still be damaged by acidic foods and poor dental habits, reinforcing the need for proper dental hygiene.
- Brushing Times: Over the course of a lifetime, the average individual devotes a staggering 38.5 days to the noble act of brushing their teeth.
- Saliva’s Superpowers: Besides helping with digestion, it contains essential enzymes that break down food particles and protect teeth from decay. It also contains antibodies that fight bacteria and viruses, promoting oral health.
- Blue Toothbrushes Reign: Blue toothbrushes triumph over their red counterparts as the favored choice among individuals.
- Diet Affects Oral Health: Sugary and acidic foods and beverages can contribute to tooth decay.
- The Most Expensive Tooth: In 1816, one of Sir Isaac Newton’s teeth was sold for $3,633, which is equivalent to $35,700 today!
- Tongue Prints: Like fingerprints, no two sets of teeth or tongues are the same. Each person has a unique pattern of taste buds on their tongue.
- Fluoride Helps Prevent Tooth Decay: Using fluoride products can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay.
- Knockout: On average, over 3 million teeth are lost at sporting events annually.
- Toothless: Around 50% of Americans are missing at least one tooth.
Dental Myths Debunked
When it comes to dental hygiene, fact and fiction can be hard to tell apart. Here are some common dental misconceptions and the data to debunk them.
- Dental Myth #1: If there are no obvious issues, you don’t need to go to the dentist.
For the most part, dental care is preventive. Dentist visits help catch problems before they turn into major issues. By the time you see or feel something wrong, you’ll have a problem that will take more money and time to fix.
- Dental Myth #2: Baby teeth aren’t important. Baby teeth play an important role in dental health. Not only do they save space and act as a guide for permanent teeth, but they also encourage jaw, muscle, and facial development. Baby teeth need to last for six to ten years, depending on the tooth. Regular dentist visits for children are a must to help prevent any future dental issues.
- Dental Myth #3: You don’t need to floss if you brush your teeth regularly.
Flossing at least once a day is an essential part of dental hygiene. You miss over 40% of your teeth’s surface area by ditching the floss. Flossing allows you to clean hard-to-reach areas and get in the small gaps between teeth, which helps remove any food particles and debris that can lead to bacterial development.
- Dental Myth #4: Brushing harder means cleaner teeth. Contrary to popular belief, brushing your teeth extra hard won’t result in cleaner teeth. It can actually result in your enamel being worn down, leading to discoloration and sensitivity issues. Additionally, brushing too hard can also irritate your gums and even cause them to bleed and recede.
Surprising Dental Discoveries and Innovations
The dental industry has come a long way since its inception, evolving from rudimentary care to a comprehensive field that focuses on preserving and protecting oral health. As technology has continued to advance, so too has the dental industry. In recent years, remarkable advances and innovations have revolutionized how we approach dental care.
- 3-D Printing: Dental practices now use 3-D printers to create dental models, surgical guides, and prosthetic devices such as crowns, bridges, and dentures. This innovation streamlines the process, making dental care more accessible and efficient.
- Laser Dentistry: Laser technology has progressed significantly within the dental industry. Using lasers allows for precise and minimally invasive procedures, reducing pain, swelling, and the need for anesthesia in some cases. This non-invasive approach makes the dental experience more comfortable and patient-friendly.
- Forensic Dentistry: When solving criminal investigations, dentistry plays a crucial role. Experts utilize their knowledge of dental anatomy, dental records, and dental forensics to unravel important information and provide answers.
Unusual Dental Practices and Traditions
Most of us are familiar with standard dental practices such as brushing, flossing, and routine checkups. However, throughout the history of dental hygiene, unusual practices and traditions have emerged. These practices, rooted in local customs and ancient beliefs, give us a glimpse into how people have approached dental hygiene around the world.
- Tooth Mouse: Also known as Ratoncito Pérez in Spain, Topino in Italy, and La Petite Souris in France, this mouse operates similarly to the tooth fairy, leaving money in exchange for children’s lost teeth.
- Teeth Blackening: Ohaguro, also known as teeth blackening, was an ancient tradition of using a special mixture of iron filings, vinegar, spices, and herbs to create a distinctive black stain on the teeth. This practice was mainly found in Southeast Asian cultures and was mainly done to protect teeth from decay, acting like modern-day sealants.
- Teeth Sharpening: A long-standing dental tradition in many countries, teeth sharpening is the process of filing teeth down for spiritual and identification purposes.
- Chew Sticks: An ancient practice dating back to 3000 BCE involved using a stick to clean your teeth. Chewing sticks had a side that could be used as a toothpick, while the other side was frayed and could be used to brush your teeth.
In conclusion, by dispelling myths, embracing innovation, addressing dental hygiene facts and acknowledging historical practices, you can continue to educate and provide the best care possible to patients.