Dentists Share The Biggest Mistakes People Make About Dental Hygiene


You want to take care of your teeth, but chances are, there is some misinformation about how exactly to do that. Luckily, we have experts to the rescue!

u/TanookiDooki asked:

[Serious] Dentists of reddit, what's the biggest mistake or misunderstanding people make when it comes to dental hygiene?

Here were some of the answers.

Sip Sip Sip

It's not the amount of sugar consumption that's a problem, it's the frequency. If you chug a 2L bottle of coke in under a minute...I mean it's not great but your teeth are exposed to the sugar and acid for under a minute.

Compare that to sippin on a giant cup of soda throughout the morning at the office. That's a near-constant exposure of sugar and acid to your teeth all throughout the morning.

Compare it to ripping a Band-Aid off quickly versus slowly taking it off through a four hour period.


Charcoal Is The Enemy

Please don't by expensive toothpaste off of Facebook. I have personally seen patients who are a dental mess, who have needed me to removal multiple teeth, advertising their favorite charcoal toothpaste on social media using doctored up photos. Another trick, if the toothpaste lists "aqua" as a major ingredient, it's because it is being labeled as a cosmetic product and following different labeling standards. This is usually because there is insufficient evidence, or the company hasn't spent the time or money to research whether or not their product actually does anything. So it gets labeled a cosmetic and they call it a day.


Acid Vs. Base

After vomiting, rinse with water using 1 tsp of baking soda mixed with 8 oz of water. Rinse with water if there is no baking soda available. Do notbrush the teeth for at least one hour. Brushing after the acidic challenge of stomach acid will accelerate enamel tissue damage.


The Nerves Involved

Dental hygienist here. Kids need their teeth brushed too. Baby teeth get cavities. Kids can have dental pain. Kids sometimes need root canals. Just because they'll lose those teeth doesn't mean you can just avoid brushing them. Met a woman yesterday who stated that she never brushes her 2 year olds teeth. Please, brush their teeth. Please don't make them get dental work at such a young age. This is what causes dental fear and avoidance of dentists later in life!


A Pet Story

I'm a veterinary dentist if that counts! Brush your pet's teeth! I could show you the horrors of a pet who's dental care was neglected and it's bad. I've seen dogs/cats with mouths so bad that I can't even understand how they are still able to eat. Mouths that are just so painful and infected that it would literally bring tears to your eyes. It's one of the best things you can do for your pet. Just like with us and our teeth, bad teeth can effect their heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. I've seen so many great pets go into heart or kidney failure because their teeth are so bad. You can take 20% off their life without proper dental care. I know most people on Reddit adore their pets and want the best for them so I hope this gets through to some people. I can post pics of awful mouths or before/after pics if anyone is interested. :)


Make The Leap

I'm a dental assistant so I'm around dentists more often than not. If I had a dollar for every time I heard them tell a patient that an electric toothbrush is way more benefincal than a manual, I wouldn't have to work again. But it's true. Also, just because you scrub your teeth harder doesn't mean they're getting cleaner. You're actually causing harm, which is why an electric toothbrush is more beneficial because some stop when you apply too much pressure.



Dental student here: One thing I learned in school is about gum that has Xylitol. People should chew xylitol based gum at least 3 to 5 times a day. Xylitol actually kills the specific bacteria in our mouths that cause cavities (Streptococcus mutans). These bacteria take up the xylitol thinking its real sugar but in actually its a poison for them. Therefore, to help lower your chance of getting cavities, gum like Mentos and Ice Cubes are the best!


Canal Story

Dentist here.

Fluoride is the most important component in toothpaste. Some brands do not include fluoride and may be referred to as "herbal" or "natural." Fluoride is a naturally occurring element and there is a tremendous body of research pointing to the positive effects for remineralization of enamel as well as some antimicrobial activity.

Also, as someone else pointed out, you should not rinse with water after brushing. You should not rinse with mouthwash after brushing either. If you like mouth rinse, use it before you brush. Toothpaste works best due to its direct application and scrubbing on during brushing. Mouth rinse oftentimes has lower fluoride levels that become diluted in saliva.

Root canals are not that scary anymore! Old dentistry had these horror stories from getting them. More than anything today, it can just be annoying to get it done and oftentimes will relieve some pain fairly quickly. It's a great way to keep a tooth that can be saved. Crowns are often the best treatment on a root canal tooth, so don't skimp on that step to save a few bucks. You got all that work done, do what's best for the tooth long term!!

I'd be happy to answer any questions!


A Misconception

That bacteria rot your teeth away. While for all intents and purposes it's accurate it's not technically accurate. Bacteria can't get through your tooths enamel. One of the hardest substances known to man. What CAN get through your teeth's enamel is the acid that the bacteria produce as waste. This acid is what wears away your tooth enamel.

One example of how this is a mistake is that people will drink diet drinks thinking it's healthy for your teeth because there's no sugar for the bacteria to eat. Problem is that diet drinks actually are usually higher in phosphoric acid which wears down your tooth enamel MORE than the acid from the bacteria that will thrive on the sugar.

There's just a general misconception in general with bacteria and dental hygiene. Another example is peoples brush their teeth thinking the brushing is the most important part. The most important part is the flouride which raises the ph of your mouth and remineralizes tooth enamel. One problem this causes is that people will often rinse their mouth with water after brushing. This is a huge no no. You want all that toothpaste in your mouth so the flouride can effect your teeth.

Another problem i've seen is using mouthwash after you brush. Unless it's a flouride mouthwash you're negating all the hard work you did by brushing. You may be killing the germs but you're also creating a more acidic environment that wears your enamel quicker as well as rinsing off all the flouride you just put in your mouth.

Another problem I see is people brushing right after eating. This is a terrible time to brush. All the acid in your food is stuck up in between your teeth. By brushing your rubbing that acid around acting like sandpaper. You should wait a few hours after eating to brush so that the saliva in your mouth lowers the ph.

There's a lot of huge misconceptions and poor understanding about dental hygiene. Not just among common people but among dentists as well. We may find out that brushing our teeth is doing more harm than good at some point. It's based on a lot of flawed assumptions. Similar to the way Lysol was invented for cleaning womens vaginas but it turns out our bodies are much better at cleaning them.

After all humanity has existed for tens of thousands of years without brushing their teeth and evidence suggest our ancestors had much healther teeth than we do.


True Clearance

Taking care of your teeth will take care of you far better in the end.

I work in a fast pace office, meaning we can see close to 100 patients in a day and I can't tell you the countless of them coming in living their lives never brushing, allowing perio to take their teeth and bone, they have broken pieces of tooth stuck here and there with infections running rampant, and have well over 20 needed procedures to fix everything and they want it done RIGHT NOW because they are trying to get medically cleared for a surgery.

Most major surgeries need dental clearance before being able to have it even if it doesn't have anything to do with the mouth, I have patients all the time coming in trying to have hip, knees, and shoulder replacements but can't because their mouth is unfortunately a biohazard.

Take care of your teeth, and they will in turn allow your body to be fixed a lot quicker when you get older or need it. Trust me.


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