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4 oral health myths debunked

(NC) Dental hygienists are primary healthcare providers who teach Canadians how to maintain healthy teeth and gums on a daily basis. Here they offer some advice on how to achieve a mega-watt smile.

1. If my teeth look great and don’t hurt, then they are healthy. FALSE. Regular dental hygiene care is important for the early detection of cavities and gum disease. Often by the time there is pain, advanced disease is present. Early detection by a dental professional can prevent lengthy and costly treatments.

2. Gum disease and gingivitis are normal and unavoidable. FALSE. Gingivitis and gum disease are preventable with proper oral care. Gingivitis is an inflammatory response of the gums to bacterial infection and can be reversed with improved oral hygiene at home. But gum disease destroys the supporting tissues, including the bone, and is non-reversible. To prevent these conditions from developing, schedule regular visits with your dental hygienist.

3. Blood in the sink while brushing is normal. FALSE. During regular tooth brushing, blood in the sink or a pink toothbrush indicates the presence of inflammation. Professional dental hygiene care along with improved oral care at home can enable everyone to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

4. Bleaching your teeth is dangerous. FALSE. There are many ways to brighten your smile. Sometimes there will be an increase in sensitivity during the period of bleaching, but side effects from tooth whitening are generally uncommon. To keep your smile safe, arrange for a full oral exam prior to tooth whitening.