- You should brush your teeth after meals The answer to this one is yes and no. Brushing your teeth straight after a meal can damage the enamel over time especially if you’ve had something acidic like fruit juice. Leave your teeth for at least 30 minutes before you clean them. That works the other way around, as well. You shouldn’t eat or drink anything for half an hour after you’ve cleaned your teeth.
- Electric toothbrushes work better
Yes, and no to this one too. Electric toothbrushes can give a much deeper clean in a shorter space of time. Pressing too hard with an electric toothbrush, however, compresses the bristles and makes the cleaning action ineffective. Our advice is to always use a light touch if you want a really great clean.
- You should rinse out your mouth with water after brushing
Actually, rinsing out your mouth can dilute the effect of your toothpaste and diminish its effect. Don’t be worried about not rinsing but if you do need to try using a non-alcohol mouthwash instead.
- Whitening toothpaste is okay for your teeth
Most of these contain some abrasive element like bicarbonate of soda and can cause damage to the enamel with prolonged use. If you have a problem with discoloured teeth, then you should pay a visit to your dentist for some advice on what to do and which options are best for you rather than overusing a whitening toothpaste.
- You should always use a mouthwash A mouthwash can be good for your dental hygiene regime but you should be careful not to overdo it. Once at night is fine but if you are doing it more than two or three times a day it could cause problems in the long run. Mouthwashes with an alcohol base may have some role in the development of oral cancer.
- Brushing is easy to do Many people don’t really clean their teeth properly. You should use a gentle circular motion rather than pressing hard and ‘scrubbing’ which can damage the enamel. Also, vary where you start brushing as most people start cleaning their teeth with a certain focus and then trail off towards the end – this way you’ll make sure all your teeth get equal attention over time.
- A quick clean is good enough In recent research it was found that most people spend less than a minute cleaning their teeth. This is not long enough. You should be aiming for at least two minutes for a good, deep clean, even if you are using an electric toothbrush.
- Diet doesn’t make a difference to the teeth Eating healthily is a given and maintaining a balanced diet is good for us for many reasons. Drinking too many sugary and acidic beverages can erode your teeth over time and cause permanent damage.
- Slight bleeding of the gums is normal Bleeding once in a while can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard. If you find it is happening more regularly this could be a sign of gum or periodontal disease. This is not something you should ignore and you should always seek advice and help from your dentist as a matter of urgency.
- There’s no need to visit your dentist so regularly You should have a dental appointment for check-up and clean every six months or so. It’s easy to get into the habit of not worrying about your teeth but this is generally a false economy. A dentist can assess your situation, give you advice and make sure you don’t develop problems such as cavities, tooth decay or periodontal disease.