Let’s be honest. We’ve all done it. We’ve either stretched the truth a little bit or withheld the whole truth when visiting the dentist. No judgment here. But when it comes down to it, lying to the dentist or when you don’t tell your dentist the whole truth, you’re only hurting yourself and possibly your overall oral health.
And, quite honestly, your dentist knows the truth without you even having to say it. Your mouth and expressions give away almost all the answers. Having an honest and truthful relationship with your dentist is vital to receiving the best oral care possible. So, here are six lies you can stop telling your dentist.
Lie #1: I Floss Regularly
This is the oldest lie in the book. And you’ve probably been lying to the dentist about this one since you were a kid. Brushing and mouthwash can only remove plaque from above your gum line. Flossing is what gets the leftover plaque under your gums. If the plaque isn’t removed, your gums can become inflamed, a dead giveaway that you aren’t flossing regularly or correctly. This leads to gum disease and gingivitis.
You should floss your teeth once a day. This helps to dislodge any food particles that may have gotten stuck. We understand that you can get busy or that you’re tired as can be at night, but it’s vital that you make time to floss. There are so many devices on the market today that can help make flossing easier and quicker. For example, the ready-to-use dental flossers are great for taking with you when you’re on the go. Then there’s the water flosser that is gentle on your teeth and gums and doesn’t even use dental floss.
Lie #2: I Don’t Drink Alcohol Often
People who are heavy drinkers tend to suffer from dry mouth. This is because the alcohol interferes with the salivary glands and slows down saliva production. This can lead to bacteria lingering in your mouth, causing you to not only be prone to cavities but also smell of alcohol.
Wine, both red and white, leaves your teeth vulnerable to staining. Red wine actually physically stains your teeth, while the acidity of the white wine interacts with certain foods and beverages that result in your teeth being more susceptible to staining. According to the American Cancer Society, about 7 out of 10 people with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
Life #3: No Soda For Me
Just because it’s non-alcoholic doesn’t mean it’s good for you or your teeth. Similar to wine and other types of alcohol, soda can erode the enamel on your teeth because of its acidity. In addition, soda, particularly dark sodas, can leave your teeth stained. Lemonade and some fruit juices are also very acidic and can damage similar to alcohol and soda.
You should just say no to soda, but if you cheat or can’t give it up, be sure to rinse your mouth after consumption. This will help to remove sugar and acid that has stayed behind on your teeth.
Lie #4: I Don’t Smoke
If you’re a smoker, don’t even bother lying to the dentist on this one. Again, no judgment. Dentists are not there to judge; they are there to improve your oral health. Tobacco is a major culprit for dental discoloration from smoking. When nicotine combines with oxygen, it causes yellowing, and tar results in brownish stains. And if the stains don’t give it away, unfortunately, the odor will. Smoke lingers on your clothes, hair, and your fingers.
Lie #5: That Doesn’t Hurt
No one wants to look like a wimp, but there is no shame in feeling pain. In fact, the dentist wants to know if it hurts. If you try to hide your pain, your dentist can usually tell immediately. When you’re experiencing pain, your body goes into a defensive mode that causes your eyes to flinch and your tongue and legs to tighten. However, your dentist can do things to help keep you comfortable. A topical anesthetic can be used as well as nitrous oxide or commonly referred to as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide helps to relax you and ease away minor discomfort.
Lie # 6: I Don’t Bite My Nails
If your messy, uneven nails don’t give it away, your teeth will. Nail-biting can do damage to your teeth and cause injury to your jaw. Nail biters often suffer tiny chips or cracks in their teeth. These cracks may not be visible to the naked eye but are easily noticeable on dental X-rays. And they aren’t just cosmetic damage, either. The cracks can collect bacteria and increase your risk of tooth decay.
Be Honest and Do Your Teeth a Favor
No one wants to feel like they are getting into trouble, but it’s important to answer truthfully when your dentist asks you a question, even if it doesn’t shine a good light on you. Your dentist needs to know all the facts so he can provide the best dental treatment possible. So, stop lying to the dentist.
Your teeth and body provide signs and symptoms when something isn’t right. But, if you’re telling your dentist lies, those signs and symptoms might be attributed to something else or, even worse, overlooked. So, be honest and take care of your smile!