You might have heard or learned a lot about brushing your teeth and how best to look after them – but the things we often learn or hear or even what we teach our kids about oral hygiene is not always factually correct.
Myth: you should Wet your toothbrush
You do not actually need to wet your toothbrush before you add tooth paste to it. If you wet your toothbrush for softer bristles, then you should just opt for a soft bristled toothbrush. If you wet your toothbrush to better lather the toothbrush, you should have enough saliva in your mouth to do this – there is no need to wet the toothbrush. Wetting your toothbrush can dilute the fluoride content in the toothpaste. If you really feel you must wet your toothbrush, use a minimal amount of water.
Myth: add a nice slug of toothpaste
Adverts are very misleading – when toothpaste is being applied to the toothbrush, the TV ad usually shows toothpaste being pushed out the tube and the length of the toothbrush, from end to end – the toothpaste worm. It is in the interest of marketers that we consume as much toothpaste as possible so that we end up needing to buy tooth paste more often. The truth is, we only need a pea sized amount to brush our teeth. Any more toothpaste than this, will not give you better results. It will only waste more money.
Myth: Cleaner teeth mean hard brushing
You should not apply too much pressure when brushing your teeth. Brushing too hard and vigorously will not get the teeth any cleaner then using a lighter stroke. Hard brushing could damage the teeth by eroding the enamel over time. By brushing hard, you may be increasing your chances of cavities because the enamel protects the inner part of the tooth and hard brushing wears the enamel away. Also, try to opt for soft to medium bristled toothbrushes. Very hard bristles can also damage the tooth enamel.
Myth: flossing is important
This has been debated in the recent years by dentists and professionals in the area. In the USA, flossing has been removed from the Dietary Guidelines issued by the ADA (American Dental Association). Public Health England also started reviewing their recommendations back in2016. The British Dental Association doesn’t particularly champion flossing or discourage it. It does however, recommend small single tuft tooth brushes which can help reach areas in between the teeth that conventional tooth brushes may not. Although strong evidence in favour of flossing is lacking, with no major study concluding it is important, it does not mean flossing is useless or that you shouldn’t floss.
Myth: chewing gum cleans your mouth
Not a replacement for brushing your teeth – chewing [sugar free] gum can have a protective effect on the teeth, but it does not actually clean them anywhere close to the way a good brushing would. The benefits of chewing gum are in the production of saliva. Gums stimulates more saliva to be produced which means your mouth can wash away acids from food and drinks that can erode the tooth enamel. If the gum Xylitol, it can help redouble the effects of saliva.
Myth: If I cut out sugar, I will avoid cavities
Sugar is bad for your teeth- we all know this. But crisps and crackers can also be bad for teeth, in fact they may be even worse. The starch content in these foods is high. Carbohydrates contain sugars and the sugars found in the carbs you take in when eating crisps, can damage the teeth.
Myth: avoid brushing gums if they bleed
This is a difficult one to explain. Bleeding is a sign of infection in the gum but sometimes actually getting your gums to bleed can help with the heeling process. If you notice your gums bleeding, don’t be afraid to brush them – you should always brush your gums along with your teeth anyway. In fact, brushing will help your gums heal, even if it means more bleeding. However, we do suggest you visit your dentist to see what the cause of the gum bleed is.
If you already new all this, hats off to you. We hope all our patients learn all there is to learn to help them maximise their oral health.