Old Wives’ Tales at the Dentist’s Office

Ever wondered if cavities are really hereditary or if sugar is as bad for your teeth as they say it is? Dr. Crapo debunks several dentistry myths in this post.

Leaving an Aspirin® Next to Your Toothache
Sounds like wise advice at first glance, doesn’t it? After all, Aspirin® is a pain killer, so placing it closer to the source of your pain should improve the results of its effects. Unfortunately, Aspirin® doesn’t work like that. When you swallow an Aspirin®, the active ingredient is digested and starts inhibiting the communication of pain in your nervous system. If you leave an Aspirin® tablet next to your tooth, it will still be digested; however, instead of bringing you relief, its acidic contents can actually damage your teeth and gums.

Sugar Gives You Cavities
Speaking of damaging your teeth, sugar is supposed to be very damaging for tooth enamel. Well, it is, but not for the reason you might think. The truth is, our teeth are not harmed by sugar itself. When you eat sugar, it’s immediately met with saliva and any resident bacteria. The bacteria feed on the sugar and leave behind an acidic waste which is very harmful to tooth enamel. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly helps to keep the resident bacteria in your mouth to a minimum. The less bacteria there is in your mouth, the less sugar can be turned into acid on your teeth.

Dental Cavities Are Hereditary
Let’s clear up one thing: cavities aren’t hereditary.

However, when both your parents and your grandparents have a mouthful of cavities, it can be easy to blame genetics. Your genes don’t specify how many cavities you’ll get, but they can influence the size of your mouth or the positioning of your teeth. If your genetics dictate closely spaced teeth, you’ll have a harder time keeping them clean, which can result in cavities down the road.

Parents are responsible for teaching their children good dental-hygiene habits. Bad habits are hard to break when you’re taught them from a young age; maybe that’s why the genetic myth has lasted for so long.

Know Any Other Dentistry Myths?
If you can think of another dentistry myth, we can find out if there’s any truth behind it. Send it to us, and we’ll reply as quickly as we can. You can also ask us right in our office, during your regularly scheduled appointment. Regularly visiting your dentist to prevent unhealthy teeth, however, is one old wives’ tale that we know to be true.