Let’s face it. If you had an active, nasty infection in your eyes, you’d run to the doctor that day for treatment. So why is it that more than 70% of the population of the developed world has infected gums, but so few do anything about them?
The reason it turns out is as simple as out of sight out of mind. Because we can’t easily see inside our own mouths, we try not to think about what might be lurking in there. This is not a situation where ignorance is bliss.
According to a recent study by the ADA of 1500 adults, our inability to see inside our mouths contributes to all kinds of myths and misinformation. For example, the vast majority of people (65%) believe they should change their toothbrush twice a year, just like most think everyone should get their teeth cleaned twice a year.
Wrong on both counts. The truth: our teeth cleaning tools should be replaced every three to four months, sooner if the bristles are frayed. And the schedule for getting your teeth cleaned is not one size fits all: how often your teeth need cleaning depends on many factors, like how much stress you are under, or whether you are pregnant, or whether you’ve got active gum disease that is compromising the integrity of your teeth’s attachment to their roots.
Here’s another good one: 81% of respondents believe that sugar causes cavities. Wrong again. It’s actually the bacteria that hang out in our mouths that love to feed on sugar that are culprits in tooth decay. These germs love to feed on the sugary stuff we eat, producing acid, which then has a field day with our tooth enamel, causing cavities.
And my personal favorite, almost 60% of people don’t realize that kissing or pre-masticating food for little ones can pass cavity-causing germs from one person to another. So maybe before that hot date on Saturday night, you should ask when your lover last saw their dental professional. If you don’t, you may unwittingly be exposing yourself to some of the most pernicious germs around.
The best defense: educate yourself and get thee to the dentist now. If you don’t already have a dentist you love, check out our on-line member directory. What you can’t see may in fact be hurting you.