When it comes to oral hygiene, there’s plenty of information out there – in general. We’ve all heard the basics (lots of times, from lots of sources): brush after meals, be sure and visit your dentist …don’t use your teeth as a bottle opener, you know, the biggies. But still, there are plenty of more specific questions you’ve probably wanted to ask your dentist, but just never have.
Well, great news. We’ve taken four of the most commonly asked questions of dentists, have done a little research, and have come up with the answers you’ve been looking for. And sure, maybe you already know some of this stuff, but hey, it never hurts to brush up on your dental-health related education.
Question 1: Is Fruit Juice Healthy or Harmful?
First and foremost, whole fruits are healthy. In general, they are rich in fiber, contain important vitamins and other nutrients, and can offer you a sweet treat without all the sugar you would most likely find in many processed foods and sweets.
However, once you juice those fruits, you lose all that fiber and are left with some of the vitamins, but mostly just the naturally occurring, or even added, sugar. And in some cases – like when drinking orange and apple juice – you have the added concern of tooth-enamel threatening acid to worry about.
So, while an occasional glass of fruit juice isn’t exactly harmful, you’re much better off getting your fruit fix from a piece of fruit, and sticking to water instead.
Question 2: Are Bleeding Gums Harmless?
Everyone's gums bleed occasionally. Brushing too hard, especially when you have sensitive skin, can be enough to rupture your gums. However, gum-bleeding is not always a benign condition. It can be a sign of gingivitis and can lead to even more serious gum diseases.
If your gums bleed, particularly if they bleed regularly, it’s time to find a dentist who can help you to rule out any cause for concern, or get you the help you need.
Question 3: Is Pain an Unavoidable Part of Going to the Dentist?
The answer to this question is, no. For many, this idea of pain and dental visits going hand in hand stems from childhood fears, a sort of mythology that exists about dentists, or simply a lack of information. We’re often led to believe that dentists mean drills, and drills mean pain, right? Not so. It hasn't been this way in a long time. For the record, dentists were never sadists; most hate the idea of causing you pain. And the good news is that technology is constantly improving.
This means many of the more involved and potentially pain-inducing procedures of the past have been updated. Dental professionals want treatments to be as minimal and unobtrusive as possible, making visits less anxiety-inducing for everyone, especially fearful patients.
Question 4: Is Flossing Really Necessary?
Here’s how your dentist might answer this question, “Nah, you don’t have to floss ALL your teeth…just the ones you want to keep!” One of the primary purposes of oral hygiene is to remove stray food from the mouth. After every meal, leftover particles tend to get stuck in our teeth. And while brushing does do a pretty fair job of removing some residue (along with applying cavity-fighting fluoride), it can't always reach the spaces in between the teeth.
That’s why flossing is a crucial part of comprehensive dental hygiene. Only with the power combo of flossing and brushing can you guarantee that your smile is fully protected.
So, at least you have the answers to these four questions. So now that you know better, you can do better, and take better care of your teeth. No question about it.