Protecting patients from themselves: busting 4 common dental myths

There is no shortage of myths surrounding the dental field. (Like the idea that placing aspirin next to a tooth can cure a toothache—not going to happen!) And because patients don’t know any better, they often cling to these myths as facts—even to the detriment of their own dental health.

That means it’s up to you as trusted dental professionals to bust these myths and the bad habits they can cause. Your patients will be glad you did!

Flossing and brushing (at least twice a day) aren’t really that important

Brushing and flossing are key to removing leftover food debris and stopping the build-up of plaque that can lead to more sever dental issues. If it’s clear your patient doesn’t take them seriously, explain to them how that plaque can harm their teeth. It can lead to cavities, bad breath, gingivitis and more. If that still isn’t enough to sway them, ask how much they like their teeth being scraped with a scaler. I’d wager a good amount that less is definitely more when it comes to that dental treatment!

Oral Cancer is only a smoker’s disease

Today more cases of oral cancer are caused by the HPV virus than smoking. This is a disease that can affect anyone without notice. Combine that with the fact that most people don’t experience any symptoms until the cancer is extremely advanced, and you have a very dangerous dental myth on your hands. However, it is easily detectable with an oral cancer screening. Teaching your patients that anyone is susceptible to oral cancer and that you can easily test them for it, will help them avoid this possibly life-threatening condition.

The whiter the teeth the healthier they are.

While white teeth may generally be considered more attractive, your patients need understand that the whiteness of their teeth has no indication of health. Whiter teeth simply have less external stains but can still have a whole host of unseen issues. And that right there is what you need to explain to patients if they think their white teeth mean they can’t have any dental problems. Use caries as an example—the whitest teeth in the world aren’t resistant to decay and will eventually have issues if not properly cared for.

Fluoride is bad for your health.

Many people (perhaps your patients included) don’t realize fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that exists in pretty much all water supplies. So when they hear fluoride is being added to community drinking water or to dental health products it sounds like they’re being forced to consume something they otherwise would go without. This means you need to educate them that they most likely already consumed fluoride unknowingly (whether through well water, bottled water, etc.) to no ill effect. Instead, any additional fluoride added to these sources is just a means to reach the proper level for strengthening teeth and working to prevent dental decay.