Debunking 5 Common Dental Myths About Cleaning Your Teeth

Debunking 5 Common Dental Myths About Cleaning Your Teeth

If you rinse your mouth after you have brushed your teeth, chances are that you dislike the feeling of having remnants in your mouth. In fact, many people have the idea that it is best to rinse off the leftover toothpaste and any gunk in the mouth. While you can spit out any debris and toothpaste, immediate rinsing is not considered the ideal practice.

In this guide, we will debunk some of the oral hygiene misconceptions.

Misconception #1: Rinsing your mouth after brushing

Many people finish off their teeth-brushing process by rinsing their mouth with water. However, they don’t realise that the water rinses off the beneficial fluoride that comes with the toothpaste, and migration of fluoride ions into enamel takes time to take effect.

It is beneficial to leave behind some of the fluoride toothpaste in your mouth for a while. Spitting out the excess toothpaste is fine, but do not rinse it off completely. The fluoride toothpaste helps to protect your teeth from plaque and bacteria. Leaving some fluoride in your mouth allows it to penetrate into your tooth enamel.

Here are some ideal brushing steps for maintaining good oral hygiene:

  • Always use a soft bristle brush and brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Start at the inner surfaces of your teeth, brushing each tooth with short brush strokes or with a circular motion. Always brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle towards your gum line to ensure that you brush away any food debris and bacterial plaque that may cause gum disease.
  • Move on to the outer surfaces of the teeth using the same motion and angle to ensure every nook and cranny is tackled.
  • Lastly, do not forget the chewing or top surfaces of your molars. Short forward and back strokes ensure that any remaining food particles and bacteria are removed.
  • You will want to brush your tongue adequately too to get rid of dead cells and excessive bacteria.
  • Spit out the excess toothpaste but do not rinse your mouth so soon.

If you wear braces, brushing might take a little more time and effort. If you use Invisalign, all you need to do is to remove the trays before you brush your teeth. However, with fixed braces, such as metal or ceramic braces, the same brushing techniques mentioned above apply. However, you need to be extra careful and detailed so as not to damage the braces, especially during the first few weeks of orthodontic treatment when your wires are thin and flexible.

If you think that there are still food particles caught between your braces and teeth, using an interdental brush helps. They are ideal for getting into any tiny gaps that your toothbrush cannot reach. Once you have finished brushing your braces and teeth, floss between the teeth to complete your oral hygiene process.

Misconception #2: Using mouthwash after brushing

Some mouthwashes come with fluoride that protects your teeth. However, if you have just brushed your teeth, you need not have to use fluoride mouthwash as your teeth are already protected by fluoride toothpaste.

It is better to use fluoride mouthwash at other times of the day when you are not able to brush your teeth. For example, if you are not brushing your teeth after a snack or meal, using mouthwash is ideal to help clean your teeth, maintaining good oral hygiene for the rest of the day.

Misconception #3: Using a hard bristle brush is better as it removes more plaque

It is true that when plaque is not cleaned properly for a long time, it becomes hard. However, using a hard bristle brush does not help to remove the hard deposits; you need a dentist to remove it by scaling. In fact, using a soft or medium bristle brush is more than enough to remove soft bacterial plaque. The thing about using a hard bristle brush is that it can actually damage the enamel that coats the surface of your teeth. Once the enamel is damaged, it cannot repair on its own.

Using a hard bristle brush also increases the risk of injuring your gum. In doing so, your gums recede, exposing the roots of the teeth and making them sensitive. This makes you more susceptible to developing gum and bone loss. Hence, it is ideal to use soft bristle brushes and gentle pressure to ensure that you do not damage your gums and teeth while removing plaque and bacteria.

Misconception #4: Using electric toothbrushes is the only effective way

There are many benefits that electric toothbrushes offer, such as a built-in timer that ensures you are brushing your teeth for two minutes. Also, for people with poor dexterity, electric toothbrushes are more effective in removing plaque and bacteria. It may make it easier for individuals wearing braces to brush their teeth since they have a larger area to cover with the toothbrush.

While electric toothbrushes are a better oral hygiene tool as compared to traditional toothbrushes for some people, they are not the only effective way. As long as you are focused and diligent in brushing your teeth, a non-electric one does its job just as well.

Misconception #5: It is ok to floss your teeth occasionally

Toothbrushes cannot reach between your teeth completely, resulting in a fair bit of plaque and food particles that cannot be brushed away. Hence, flossing your teeth after brushing them is the only sure way to remove them completely. It is even more important to floss your teeth when wearing braces.

You will need a minimum of 30 cm of floss, wound around your fingers at each end. Then holding the floss tight between your forefingers and thumbs, run the floss between your teeth. Gently floss up into the gum line.


Staying on top of your oral hygiene is how you should maintain good gums and healthy teeth. Implementing tiny but incremental changes can help optimize the cleaning of your teeth. If you are concerned about your dental health and hygiene, do not hesitate to contact BigSmile Dental Clinic or your nearest dental clinic.

Here at BigSmile, we care about more than just having straight teeth. With access to an extensive knowledge base and considerable experience, our team of dental professionals also offer affordable orthodontic solutions, such as our Invisalign braces at an affordable cost. Find out more about our services at