Navigation Links
Chew on this: 6 dental myths debunked

BOSTON (August 5, 2010) Brushing, flossing, and twice-yearly dental check-ups are standard for oral health care, but there are more health benefits to taking care of your pearly whites than most of us know. In a review article, a faculty member at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) debunks common dental myths and outlines how diet and nutrition affects oral health in children, teenagers, expectant mothers, adults and elders.

Myth 1: The consequences of poor oral health are restricted to the mouth

Expectant mothers may not know that what they eat affects the tooth development of the fetus. Poor nutrition during pregnancy may make the unborn child more likely to have tooth decay later in life. "Between the ages of 14 weeks to four months, deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, protein and calories could result in oral defects," says Carole Palmer, EdD, RD, professor at TUSDM and head of the division of nutrition and oral health promotion in the department of public health and community service. Some data also suggest that lack of adequate vitamin B6 or B12 could be a risk factor for cleft lip and cleft palate formation.

In children, tooth decay is the most prevalent disease, about five times more common than childhood asthma. "If a child's mouth hurts due to tooth decay, he/she is less likely to be able to concentrate at school and is more likely to be eating foods that are easier to chew but that are less nutritious. Foods such as donuts and pastries are often lower in nutritional quality and higher in sugar content than more nutritious foods that require chewing, like fruits and vegetables," says Palmer. "Oral complications combined with poor diet can also contribute to cognitive and growth problems and can contribute to obesity."

Myth 2: More sugar means more tooth decay

It isn't the amount of sugar you eat; it is the amount of time that the sugar has contact with the teeth. "Foods such as slowly-dissolving candies and soda are in the mouth for longer periods of time. This increases the amount of time teeth are exposed to the acids formed by oral bacteria from the sugars," says Palmer.

Some research shows that teens obtain about 40 percent of their carbohydrate intake from soft drinks. This constant beverage use increases the risk of tooth decay. Sugar-free carbonated drinks and acidic beverages, such as lemonade, are often considered safer for teeth than sugared beverages but can also contribute to demineralization of tooth enamel if consumed regularly.

Myth 3: Losing baby teeth to tooth decay is okay

It is a common myth that losing baby teeth due to tooth decay is insignificant because baby teeth fall out anyway. Palmer notes that tooth decay in baby teeth can result in damage to the developing crowns of the permanent teeth developing below them. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, the permanent teeth may erupt malpositioned and require orthodontics later on.

Myth 4: Osteoporosis only affects the spine and hips

Osteoporosis may also lead to tooth loss. Teeth are held in the jaw by the face bone, which can also be affected by osteoporosis. "So, the jaw can also suffer the consequences of a diet lacking essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamins D and K," says Palmer.

"The jawbone, gums, lips, and soft and hard palates are constantly replenishing themselves throughout life. A good diet is required to keep the mouth and supporting structures in optimal shape."

Myth 5: Dentures improve a person's diet

If dentures don't fit well, older adults are apt to eat foods that are easy to chew and low in nutritional quality, such as cakes or pastries. "First, denture wearers should make sure that dentures are fitted properly. In the meantime, if they are having difficulty chewing or have mouth discomfort, they can still eat nutritious foods by having cooked vegetables instead of raw, canned fruits instead of raw, and ground beef instead of steak. Also, they should drink plenty of fluids or chew sugar-free gum to prevent dry mouth," says Palmer.

Myth 6: Dental decay is only a young person's problem

In adults and elders, receding gums can result in root decay (decay along the roots of teeth). Commonly used drugs such as antidepressants, diuretics, antihistamines and sedatives increase the risk of tooth decay by reducing saliva production. "Lack of saliva means that the mouth is cleansed more slowly. This increases the risk of oral problems," says Palmer. "In this case, drinking water frequently can help cleanse the mouth."

Adults and elders are more likely to have chronic health conditions, like diabetes, which are risk factors for periodontal disease (which begins with an inflammation of the gums and can lead to tooth loss). "Type 2 diabetes patients have twice the risk of developing periodontal disease of people without diabetes. Furthermore, periodontal disease exacerbates diabetes mellitus, so meticulous oral hygiene can help improve diabetes control," says Palmer.


Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
Tufts University, Health Sciences

Related medicine news :

1. St. Elizabeth Dental Clinic Named one of the Best in the Nation
2. Low-Income Children Not Getting Adequate Dental Care
3. Phoenix Dentist Joseph R. Cohen, D.D.S., is Chosen by The American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation as Site Visitor.
4. Strength Based on Science Drives Glidewell Dental Lab's BruxZir Solid Zirconia
5. Dental school gets $1.86 million from NIH for study of methamphetamines effect on oral health
6. June 27th Is National HIV Testing Day-New York Celebrity Dentist Offers Free Oral Rapid HIV Testing In the Dental Office
7. JDR increases its 5-Year SIF and remains number one dental journal of 64 in its category
8. The 2nd Future Trends in Implantology International Dental Conference
9. Brain MRI in children: Incidental findings yield disclosure dilemmas for doctors, patients
10. US dental schools leave graduates unprepared to screen for sleep disorders
11. Dental Wealth Partners Acquires Choate Financial Services
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... According to Los Angeles bariatric surgeon Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S., many ... real hunger, but instead by a hormone called ghrelin which (often prematurely) signals ... are aware that weight loss surgery can help patients lose weight by restricting the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... added a comparison chart and ingredient list of its hemorrhoid ointment to its ... “fast, effective pain relief for people suffering from hemorrhoids. Adding the comparison chart ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Using a combination of two blood sugar tests ... adults, according to a new study by researchers at the School of Public Health ... Adults: Using Combinations of Blood Glucose Tests ,” published in Frontiers in Public Health, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The recently ... Poison Data System (NPDS) reveals that in 2014, someone called a poison center ... two million of which were human exposure cases. , The American Association of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Reading, PA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... Ashland Specialty Ingredients (ASI) as their exclusive channel partner for the Nutraceutical Specialties ... supplements markets in the US, effective immediately. , “We are pleased to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Next week, December 2-3, BIOMEDevice San ... co-located events covering the latest in Medtech innovation, Wearable ... draw more than 3,000 design industry professionals to the ... events, combined show floor will host more than 300 ... --> --> BIOMEDevice features suppliers in ...
(Date:11/30/2015)...  IBA Molecular North America, Inc. (IBAMNA), a U.S. ... that as of January 1, 2016, it will do ... to rebrand the company reflects a refined vision for ... close relationship with Zevacor Molecular.  Both IBAMNA and Zevacor ... Peter Burke , Vice President Sales ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 Nautilus Medical Inc. ... Image Management platform ( ). The release of ... from RSNA 2015 (Radiology Society North America) in ... in the U.S. --> ... that enables access to radiology studies worldwide via a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: