Since opening in August 2018, something Dr. Sarah and I have heard a few times after giving what we thought to be fairly routine oral hygiene advice was "I never realised that", or "Nobody actually ever told me that before."
We realise that some myths surrounding tooth brushing and oral hygiene are still flummoxing people, so we have decided to shatter some of the "mouth myths".
"Electric toothbrushes are better than manual brushes."
Mostly False. Electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes are both excellent for maintaining good oral hygiene practices. With the right technique, there is no reason why you can't do just as good a job with a manual brush. Where the electric toothbrush becomes useful is if your technique is in some way deficient. It controls pace, and pressure, and it automates the required gentle oscillating action needed.
The key here is to ensure whether manual or electric, it is the technique that is important, and you can check this by speaking to Will or Sarah.
"You should wait until after breakfast before brushing."
False. You should brush where at all possible after waking, this will eliminate any bacterial deposits that
have accumulated overnight, eat breakfast, and again, if possible half an hour later use a fluoride mouth rinse. Often this advice complicates the morning routine though, and anything that can complicate the routine (especially with young children) should not be a barrier to oral hygiene.
Some parents have been given complicated advice, such as ‘Do not brush within 30 min after eating or drinking’, or ‘Do not brush before breakfast’ or ‘ be careful of children swallowing toothpaste’, which made it more difficult to get ready for school.
We would prefer brushing and rinsing at any time, and in any order rather than missing it, but this would be the ideal way to do it.
"Rinse with water after brushing."
False. You spend about €4 on a tube of toothpaste. The benefit of the toothpastes is in the active ingredients. Some contain fluoride to strengthen the mineral, others contain other ingredients. Rinsing with water just washes this away, you lose all of the benefits of the key ingredients. It is better to just spit out the excess. Also watch out for your children flicking the brush under the running tap, this has the same effect.
"You need to change your toothbrush every six months"
False. You need to be doing this much more often than you think. By the time the bristles start to fade and splay out, they are already past their best. You should be needing to change the brush every 3 months. If you see us in Expressions every six months for your scale and polish or your check up, this would mean that you would be buying two tooth brushes to last you until the next visit. We have some amazing environmentally conscious Tepe brushes that are made from SUGAR CANE!!! (Oh the Irony!)
We are huge believers in these Tepe brushes, we hold a stock of them, so pop in and get one or pick one up here.
"Only floss the ones you want to keep"
Mostly True. This is mostly correct, brushing alone will result in you missing up to 40% of all the tooth
surfaces. It is then these areas that accumulate food debris, plaque, calculus and staining that causes the breakdown of the tooth and the gum resulting in the need for costly dental treatment and even the loss of
teeth. Cleaning between the teeth with floss harps, floss, interdental brushes (the best option by far), will help to reduce this and also leave your teeth feeling cleaner and fresher. This would ideally be done immediately prior to brushing, and again there is a particular technique to flossing that Sarah or Will can demonstrate. Tepe brushes need to be used with the largest brush that can comfortably fit through the gap. The first few times that you use them the gum may bleed, but be gentle and persevere.