There are many misconceptions about oral hygiene, from how to brush and when to floss to everything in between. Here are five of the most common myths about brushing your teeth. Read on to see for yourself how much truth there is to these claims.
Myth #1—Brushing Harder Cleans Better
One of the largest problems when it comes to taking care of your teeth is the belief that caked-on plaque or calculus goes away when we brush even harder. Unfortunately, rough brushing often does more harm than good, as intensely rigorous brushing may strip away enamel and damage your gums. No matter how stubborn coffee stains may seem, your mouth will thank you after a gentle two-minute brushing with softer bristles.
Myth #2—You Should Floss After Brushing
Many people brush first, then floss to eliminate what’s left over, but doesn’t that seem backward? After all, most of our plaque nestles into the spaces between our teeth. Many dental experts agree that it’s more beneficial to floss first to loosen the plaque and then use the brushing process to collect it and spit it out.
Myth #3—Sugar Causes Cavities
Sugar is not some magical white powder that eats through our teeth upon contact. When we eat sugary foods, certain bacteria, such as chemotaxis, bind to the sugar. These bacteria are the cause of most cavities, not the sugar itself.
Myth #4—You Should Rinse After Brushing
One common myth about brushing your teeth is a learned habit many of us may want to break: rinsing our mouths out after brushing. One of the main benefits of toothpaste is that one ingredient, fluoride, can help strengthen and protect our teeth. However, when we rinse, swish, and spit afterward, we spit out that fluoride before it can do its job. Your mouth may feel weird when you don’t rinse the toothpaste out, but many dental experts agree it’s better for our oral health.
Myth #5—White Teeth Are Healthy Teeth
Many people focus on making their teeth as white as possible. Many kinds of toothpaste boast that their primary function is whitening power, and these options concentrate less on cavity protection or strengthening enamel. If you brush solely to get your teeth as white as possible, you may cover up a deeper dental issue that can result in further problems. It’s OK to want your teeth to sparkle, but don’t forget to check for other issues beyond discoloration.