Brush Up on Oral Hygiene: Myths, Facts, and Stats

Illustration representing learning more about oral hygiene

Healthy Teeth and Gums Begin with Knowledge

The more you know about oral hygiene, the easier it is to keep your teeth and gums healthy for life. In this information age, we’re lucky to have knowledge at our fingertips. Sometimes, there’s so much information out there that the lines between fact, fiction, and opinion get blurred. So here are a few debunked myths, science-backed facts, and current oral hygiene statistics to keep your knowledge sharp and your teeth healthy.

Illustration of a tooth with large vitamin and mineral pills

Fluoride is Harmful to Your Health

Fluoride is essential for preventing tooth decay and is safe in recommended doses. Yes, ingesting extremely large amounts of fluoride can cause fluorosis or more serious health issues. However, that is an uncommon occurrence. The amount of fluoride you get from fluoridated drinking water and toothpaste is not nearly enough to do any harm. Fluoride concentrations are meticulously monitored in all ADA-approved oral hygiene products and municipal water supplies.

Regular fluoride exposure in the oral cavity helps replace lost minerals in the teeth, making them more resistant to cavities and acid wear. Sometimes fluoride treatments can stop the progression of early cavities and avoid the need for fillings.

We offer preventive Silver Diamine Fluoride treatments for kids that stop cavities before they break into the deeper parts of the teeth. This safe and effective treatment kills surface bacteria and helps rebuild the minerals lost in the early cavity process. Learn more about the origin and benefits of fluoride on our dental health resources blog.

Illustration of a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush

Fact: Daily Brushing and Flossing Protects Your Teeth

Yes, it’s true! Brushing and flossing your teeth daily prevents periodontal disease (gum disease) and wards off tooth decay. When you floss, you remove bits of food and bacteria that collect at the base of your teeth near your gums, preventing plaque and tartar buildup. Most plaque hardens within 48 hours; daily flossing ensures that plaque never has a chance.

Twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste (for 2 minutes at a time) helps sweep away the remaining gunk, strengthens your tooth enamel, and keeps your breath fresh. What happens when you don’t brush and floss? Bacteria thrive and eventually cause cavities, gum disease, and tooth and jaw bone loss.

Illustration of three teeth showing different levels of oral hygiene

Stats: How Common is Good Oral Hygiene?

Oral diseases affect about 3.5 billion people worldwide — that means about half of us are dealing with tooth decay, periodontal disease, oral cancer, tooth loss, or some kind of dental trauma. Preventive care like seeing your dentist twice a year, brushing and flossing daily, avoiding tobacco products, using fluoride, and reducing sugar consumption can help stop or improve these conditions. Here are some other dental health stats that may surprise you:

  • It’s more common for kids to visit the dentist than for adults. 86.9% of children ages 2-17 have visited a dentist within the past year, while only 64.1% of adults 18+ report having a dental exam or cleaning in the same time period.
  • By age 8, 52% of children have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth.
  • On average, 34 million school hours are lost yearly because of unplanned (emergency) dental care, and over $45 billion in US productivity is lost yearly due to untreated dental disease.
  • People who smoke are 3x more likely to lose all of their teeth.

We encourage all our patients to educate themselves about oral hygiene, and we’re always happy to answer questions. You can learn more about taking great care of your teeth and gums on our dental health resources page. Meanwhile, call us to book an appointment today! We’re honored to keep Gastonia smiling brightly.

Healthy Gums,
Healthy Life

Your dental impressions will be a breeze with iTero. We can’t wait to provide you with comfortable, accurate imaging and excellent dental care. Your oral health is essential; we’re here to make dental care more delightful. Book an appointment online or call us at 704.864.9949 to learn more about our intraoral scanner.

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