Old fillings are toxic and other myths about oral health

Visiting the dentist always usually generates some anxiety and is usually associated with pain and discomfort. This circumstance has led to the spread of certain false or doubtful beliefs that may compromise our oral health in recent years.

The first thing to say is that We should not go to the dentist only when our mouth hurts. In addition to stress or fear, one of the common and more justified dilemmas is that we believe that going to the dentist almost always means an economic outlay important. Dr. Gastón Demaria Martínez, oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the Ruber Juan Bravo Hospital Complex, explains the problem of not going to periodic check-ups. "A small caries discovered on time can mean a 30-minute consultation without anesthesia and economically acceptable. If we do not go to annual reviews, that caries it grows, it hurts and in many cases it ends up in more expensive treatments to save the tooth or its extraction ”.

It is not true that electric brushes damage the gums, since they have a mechanism to control the pressure exerted and not affect gums and enamel

In the latter cases, the economic impact It is greater than the annual preventive treatment. If the spaces without dental pieces are not replaced, those that are still in the mouth must support the work of the missing pieces. “This fact leads us to increase the possibility of losing more teeth. The prevention It is the key to maintaining proper oral health. ” And it is in this aspect where the confusion begins. Is the electric brush or the manual better? Is fluoride toxic? Is it any use eating gum if I can't brush my teeth?

In the case of toothbrush, it is important to explain that brushing in proper form and time It is effective, both with electric brush and manual. Even so, numerous studies demonstrate the advantages of modern electric brushes in relation to manuals. The most recommended are those that use oscillating-rotary technology, and it is not true that modern electric brushes damage the gums, since they have a mechanism to control the pressure exerted. "The electric brush is more effective removing bacterial plaque", Demaria says," and it has also been seen that those who use electric brushes spend more time on oral hygiene. In fact, they facilitate it a lot, since the current devices warn with beeps when you have to change the brushing zone and when the recommended two minutes have been fulfilled ”. He also recommends choosing medium hard brushes or soft, since what does damage the teeth is a very strong and aggressive brushing. If we want to remove remains between teeth, better than using a hard brush it is advisable to use dental floss or interdental brushes.

When we talk about toothpaste fluoride, it must be explained that it is not toxic if it is not ingested. European legislation determines a maximum of 1,500 beats per minute in toothpastes, but if it exceeds 1,000 ppm, it must be reflected in the labeling. "Fluorosis," says the specialist, "is a rare disease in Spain and is usually due to excess fluoride in drinking water. Even so, in children under six years the use of fluoride toothpaste is not recommended, since they are likely to swallow more than they spit. ” Fluorine has demonstrated since the early twentieth century that it is essential for caries prevention and enamel repair. Use home remedies such as salt, coal powder or rice husk, among others, can increase the risk of tooth decay, stain teeth and damage the gums, all this due to its greater abrasive effect.

As for the mouthwash, that is, the liquid to rinse the mouth, is a complement to brushing and has to be soft. Yes it is true that it can be useful if you have chlorhexidine for after surgical procedures, a mouthwash for patients with dental sensitivity or after whitening. Although mouthwash with alcohol has been associated with cancer cases, "there is no direct relationship, but it does have an potentiating role in smoking patients, in this case, they are never recommended."

More popular beliefs: no, chew gum It does not replace brushing in any case. “Eating a chewing gum (without sugar and with sweeteners such as xylitol) between brushings can help reduce, by drag, a part of the bacterial flora of the mouth. According to studies, this benefit comes only to 10% of aggressive bacteria. Brushing plus dental floss can reach 90%. ” In addition, the excess of xylitol and other polyols can generate laxative effects.

Finally, we banish the belief that mercury is present in old fillings of amalgam I can poison you. It is not necessary to go to the dentist to change them if they are in good condition. “Amalgams,” says Dr. Demaria, “are the union of mercury with other metals, in the case of the mouth, it is usually with silver. So, indeed, they do carry mercury. ” The amalgams are the fillings that were made before the appearance of the composites and are currently in disuse because the European Union banned them in 2018 for pregnant women, infants and children under 15 years. He also discourages them in adults. This prohibition is based on the toxic nature of mercury. "The reality is that mercury in amalgam is not toxic and there are numerous studies where there is no risk for the patient or statistical or clinical relevance, so there is no possibility of poisoning when carried."

"According to several studies, chewing gum only reaches 10% of aggressive bacteria in the mouth. Brushing with dental floss can reach 90%."

It is not convenient to remove healthy fillings, since the amalgam vapor could be toxic to the professional who removes it if done daily. In this way, the ban is due more to a matter of manipulation and toxic waste by the health personnel that to the possible poisoning of the patients. "The withdrawal of amalgam fillings may be due to a patient's desire, in areas where he is seen smiling, or, in some cases, unethical marketing and consumption strategies"

In short, it is true that our mouth can give us health problems, but the best we can do to avoid or minimize them is to go to a Specialized Team, rigorous and with the necessary resources to avoid losing our smile.

The Confidential, in collaboration with Quirónsalud, presents a series of articles to clarify doubts regarding myths and popular beliefs related to health as well as to combat false information that can be generated on the internet. If you have any questions about the question and you want more information, you can contact the Ruber Juan Bravo Hospital Complex.