As a Portland General Dentist, We Shed Light on Common Oral Health Challenges

General DentistAs a general dentist in Portland, we treat patients who are suffering from all sorts of dental problems. During appointments, we focus on identifying issues, treating them right away, and preventing them from happening again. One way we do this is through education. We take the time to answer questions and help our patients create a plan for lifelong oral health. Very often, this involves debunking common myths so our patients can take steps to make healthy choices. Some of the common myths we hear are harmful to oral health, so we have compiled a list of them here.

Myth – Only sugar causes cavities.

As a general dentist, we understand how easy it is to think of sugar as the leading cause of cavities. Eating too much sugar certainly is bad for you, but it is not the only thing that isn't good for you. Cavities are formed when the bacteria on your teeth come in contact with sugar and starch, and plaque forms as a result. The plaque secretes an acid that begins to attack the tooth, leading to decay. To prevent cavities, you need to avoid sugar, starch, and foods that are acidic. This, however, is not necessarily practical, so rinse your mouth after eating or drinking any of these things and brush three times a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Myth – Flossing is optional.

This is a particularly dangerous myth because flossing is the most important thing you can do for preventing gum disease. As a general dentist, we suggest that you floss on a daily basis, and if you do not enjoy doing so, buy a flossing tool to make it easier.

Myth – Root canals are only needed if a tooth is infected.

We perform root canals to remove the infected portion of the tooth, but also to treat roots that have been damaged. You can damage your root by getting into an accident, grinding your teeth, or having a lot of dental work completed back to back. This makes it important to plan ahead for what dental work you need to have done to avoid damaging your tooth and your roots. Fortunately, if we do need to perform a root canal, we can do so in a way that is entirely comfortable.

Myth – Only people that smoke or chew tobacco get oral cancer.

Naturally, people in this category are at an increased risk of getting oral cancer, lung cancer, heart disease, etc. However, they are not the only ones who can get oral cancer. This type of cancer is also caused by overexposure to the sun, drinking too much alcohol, and having the HPV virus, among other things. Both men and women of all ages can get it, so we encourage you to have an oral cancer screening completed annually. If you have any of the risk factors, you may want to be screened twice per year since this early detection and treatment will give you the best shot at fighting the disease.

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