Common Misconceptions about Oral Hygiene

The hygiene of oral cavity is of paramount importance as improper upkeep of it can lead to many systemic illnesses. Though we are well aware of the hygiene of other body parts and the systemic illness but we are hardly ever taught the proper upkeep of oral cavity. The knowledge of oral hygiene is not much better among the healthcare professionals than the general public except the dentists. Thus it is important that all healthcare professionals should be well aware of the principals of oral hygiene.

Common Myths about Oral Hygiene and Brushing of teeth

  • Dental Flossing increases gap in teeth
  • Bacteria formed from small food particles left behind after eating food and sugar cling to teeth. If left alone, these particles can become plaque and then tartar. Brushing in the morning and at night keeps bacteria at bay and maintains smooth tooth surfaces so bacteria can’t cling to the surface as easily.
  • Brushing cleans only 65% of your teeth. What about the other 35%? These are the surfaces in between your teeth which the toothbrush cannot reach (even if you use ultra-thin bristles). Only a dental floss can remove food debris stuck in those areas. 
  • Flossing ensures the between-teeth surfaces get clean, too. Brushing and not flossing leaves two of four sides of your teeth vulnerable, like washing only one side of your dishes at home before putting them back in the cupboard. If you can’t bring yourself to floss daily, start by flossing once every 2-3 days and work up to daily. Once every few days is certainly better than not at all.
  • Daily Brushing of teeth in morning is enough for oral hygiene.

For as long as most of us can remember, we’ve been admonished to brush our teeth at least twice a day, or after every meal if possible. The logic is sound; not brushing your teeth often enough will allow bacteria to accumulate into plaque, which coats the surfaces of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Still, brushing your teeth is only a part of a good oral hygiene routine. If you neglect the rest of it, you are still at risk for oral health problems, even if you brush your teeth three or four times a day.

  • Using a hard toothbrush, clean my teeth better than a soft one.
    • If you want to damage your gums, root surfaces, and tooth enamels, then you can use the hard- bristle brush, but if you want to protect the delicate parts of the tooth then don’t use the hard bristle brush at all. Most dentists recommend the soft-bristle toothbrush because it is the safest and comfortable choice. For ensuring that your toothbrush is correct, make sure that their bristles have the rounded tips.
  • Bad breath means you are a bad brusher
  1. Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.
  2. Dehydration is the leading cause of bad breath other than poor dental hygiene, according to the Mayo Clinic. Not drinking enough water means food (and the bacteria that feed on it) hangs out in your mouth longer, breeding and heightening the stench. 

To know about various mouth wash and rinse click here.

Dr. Vishesh Jain, BDS. MCODS Manipal.


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