This blog post will focus on debunking some dental misconceptions and answering some of the frequent questions that dentists receive. 

It’s a debated dental topic and people sometimes have their preference, but should you brush before flossing, or floss before brushing?

To answer the floss-brush question, we turn to a study (“The Effect of Toothbrushing and Flossing Sequence on Interdental Plaque Reduction and Fluoride Retention: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial”) published by the American Academy of Periodontology. In this study, 25 participants were assessed and the first phase had participants brush before flossing and the second phase floss before brushing. At the end of the study, researchers concluded that the amount of plaque was drastically reduced when participants flossed first and then brushed after. Researchers concluded that flossing loosens bacteria from between the teeth and brushing/rinsing afterwards further clears the mouth. In turn, it is best to floss before brushing

Some patients may dismiss flossing altogether, since they brush twice a day and use mouthwash. Even though this is a good start to an oral care routine, flossing should always be incorporated as it is a necessary step in bacteria removal and preventing gingivitis and gum disease. Plaque and small food particles can get lodged tightly in between teeth, where a toothbrush may not reach or remove on its own. Flossing loosens plaque and debris, bringing it to the surface, so that brushing can then fully remove and clean teeth.

Another common misconception that dentists often hear is that brushing teeth harder will make them cleaner. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, brushing too hard can harm a person’s gums and exposed roots by wearing away at them, which can lead to gum recession, sensitivity and susceptibility to root cavities. Plaque is soft and loose, so there is no need to scrub too hard. In fact, think of replacing the word “scrub” with “massage”. The best form of tooth brushing is massaging the teeth and gums lightly on a 45 degree angle in circular strokes

Finally, everyone would like to have a whiter, brighter smile. As such, many take home whitening remedies into their own hands. A misconception dentists often hear is that brushing teeth with baking soda is a safe and cheap alternative for teeth whitening. While it is safe to brush with a little baking soda, it is not without risk. If used everyday and incorrectly, baking soda can have a damaging effect. It can irritate your gums, is abrasive on enamel and can wear down teeth, and it is not compatible with certain dental materials (it can weaken the glue bonding braces or permanent retainers). If you are looking to safely and effectively whiten your teeth, it is best to discuss options with your Dr. Hanna. 

No matter what your dental routine is, it is always best to discuss it, along with any questions or concerns with Dr. Hanna at Go Dental. We look forward to seeing you soon!