Oral Health

Brush up on the facts: Our dentist tells us what’s true and what’s not when it comes to dental care

I should use mouth rinse.

TRUE While mouth rinse is not a replacement for brushing and flossing, it helps to reduce plaque and cleans other surfaces of the mouth, such as the inner cheeks, tongue and gums.

I must remove my wisdom teeth.

FALSE Not necessarily. Wisdom tooth removal is recommended only if the position of the tooth is causing or can potentially pose harm to your other teeth. It is advisable to visit the dentist to find out whether your wisdom teeth need to be removed.

I should wait till my tooth hurts before I visit the dentist.

FALSE Visiting your dentist at least once every six months enables the identification of any dental problems in the early stages, where simpler and more affordable treatment can be rendered.

Flossing makes my teeth grow further apart.

FALSE All teeth are connected to the supporting bone via fibres, which allow each tooth to move 0.5mm in all directions. The movement of teeth during normal flossing is within  this allowance.

As I age, I will surely lose teeth.

FALSE Two main causes of tooth loss are gum disease and decay, both of which are highly preventable with good oral hygiene, diet modifications and regular dental visits.

Brushing right after eating will help keep my teeth cleaner.

FALSE Most foods contain some form of acids, which can lead to softening of the tooth structure when eating. Tooth structure  is hardened back by minerals in saliva. This process takes about 30 minutes. Thus, it is a good idea to wait for 30 minutes after eating before brushing. This ensures that softened tooth structure is not worn away by brushing immediately.

Using a hard toothbrush makes my teeth cleaner.

FALSE How effectively you clean your teeth is dependent largely on the technique of brushing, not the stiffness of the toothbrush bristles. Hard bristles are abrasive on gums and may cause gums to shrink away from your teeth, causing roots to be exposed, and resulting in increased sensitivity.