Facts & Myths about Tooth Decay, Fluoride and X-Rays from Dr. Leske
- FACT:- Tooth decay is the most common health problem in Australia. Unfortunately dental care is one of the least publicly funded and advertised of all the health care services. At Robertson Dental Innovations we can educate you on how to prevent the need for costly and invasive dental care by following some simple daily routines (see the tips listed at the end of this article).
- MYTH:- Tooth decay is inevitable and everyone gets cavities. In fact, tooth decay is 100% preventable and your Dentist or Oral Health Therapist/Hygienist are the best people to inform you about how to prevent decay and maintain your teeth for life.
- FACT:- People who use fluoridated water and toothpaste have up to 60% less tooth decay than those who don’t. Talk to your dental professional about whether you are getting enough fluoride onto your teeth.
- MYTH:- Fluoride in water and toothpaste is harmful to your body. In fact, the amount of fluoride in water and toothpaste has been proven to be too small to be a risk to your health but has been shown to be extremely beneficial to your teeth. This is based on over 50 years of intense research.
- FACT:- X-rays detect up to 50% more cavities and teeth problems than visual inspection alone. It is recommended that you consider having x-rays taken approximately every 2-3 years. Generally, the more fillings or complex dental work you have, the more often you will need to have x-rays taken.
- MYTH:- Dental x-rays cause cancer and birth defects. In fact, the amount of radiation used in modern, digital, dental x-rays, such as the ones used at Robertson Dental Innovations, is extremely low and the benefits of dental x-rays far outweigh the risks. Every person is exposed to natural amounts of radiation in our environment. You would need to have over 400 digital dental x-rays per year to equal the amount of natural background radiation that a person receives per year! Dental x-rays have also been proven to be safe during pregnancy but it is best to have a thorough dental check-up prior to becoming pregnant. Talk to your dental professional about the benefits of x-rays to avoid more costly and invasive dental treatments in the future.
- FACT:- The dental professionals at Robertson Dental Innovations really do care about your oral health and want to teach you how to prevent dental problems. Feel free to ask them how.
- MYTH:- Dentists are trained to make money. In fact, financial matters make up none of a dentist’s training at university. Dentists spend at least 5 years at University and then at least 20 hours every year learning and updating their skills to make sure they can provide the best, most up to date and evidence-based treatments for you. Unfortunately dental treatment can be costly due to the need for highly skilled assistants, updated equipment and costly single use materials, on-site sterilisation requirements, laboratory costs and other overheads that are unique to dental practice.
Follow these tips on dental care and prevent cavities for life!
- Brush twice daily for at least 2 minutes with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Children under 6 should use a low-fluoride toothpaste. Bring your toothbrush to your dental appointment and have your dental professional show you the best way to brush.
- Clean in between all your teeth daily with floss or interdental brushes (“Pixters”). Talk to your dental professional about the best way to do this.
- Restrict snacking to one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon snack and make sure your diet includes lots of fresh (ideally raw) vegetables, lean meat and dairy products with minimal sugary foods such as sweet biscuits, lollies, chocolate, muesli bars, chips etc.
- Drink approximately 8 glasses of fluoridated tap water daily and restrict soft drinks, juices and alcohol to once or twice a week if at all.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months and consider x-rays every 2-3 years depending on your dental condition.
About the Author
Dr. Amanda Leske works at the Dental Innovations on Sternberg site and is our second longest serving dentist. Dr. Leske also works up at the University with dental students. Dr. Leske is available for appointments weekdays excluding Wednesdays.