Debunking The Top 10 Myths of Teeth Cleaning

Debunking The Top 10 Myths of Teeth Cleaning

Did you know that something as simple as brushing your teeth is actually surrounded by many myths, and that they can be about both baby and adult teeth, too! We are going to dive into the top 10 myths of teeth brushing right now, and this includes myths such as "flossing is not needed when you brush your teeth twice a day" and "sugar is bad for your teeth"! Read on to discover the interesting facts that we have to share with you.

1. The harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth

This is false! Arguably the top misconception when it comes to oral hygiene, brushing your teeth harder will only cause harm to the tooth enamel, and what follows is the higher chance for problems such as cavities and decay to strike.

According to MedicalNewsToday, brushing too hard can also cause gum recession, which is the shrinking of the gum tissue. Eventually, the roots of your teeth will become exposed and affect your smile. Therefore, never brush your teeth hard, and instead, learn how to brush it properly by consulting your dentist.

2. It is normal for the gums to bleed

This is false! Bleeding gums is one of the most common symptoms of inflamed gums1, which is also known as gingivitis. If your gums easily bleed after brushing, it could be because of the deposits of plaque in the gums surrounding your teeth. Dentists will always recommend you to go for dental scaling, followed by careful and proper brushing techniques after in order to stop it from developing into periodontitis.

3. Children don't need to brush their teeth until they are 4 years old

This myth about baby teeth is definitely false! Dentists recommend brushing your child's teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts because cavities or tooth decay can happen undetected.

In taking care of your child's oral health, choose the correct kids toothpaste based on their age and their dentition stage (ie. children in the mixed dentition stage have both milk and permanent teeth).

This is because kids' toothpastes come with different formulations and ingredients. There are also different age-specific toothbrushes to choose from, coming in different fits and grips for better cleaning. Always consult your dentist to be sure.

4. Sugar is the only cause of cavities

This myth is false. While sugar is generally bad for teeth, it only contributes to cavities. It is not the direct cause. The bacteria in your mouth feeds on sugar to create plaque, which damages your teeth enamel2. Brushing your teeth regularly and properly will clean your teeth of plaque. Furthermore, other types of foods such as carbonated drinks, alcohol and starchy foods that are full of carbs can also cause cavities.

5. Bad breath is always an isolated condition

This is also false! As described in our piece on bad breath (halitosis), bad breath may also be a symptom of underlying medical issues.

Depending on the type of bad-breath smell, you may be looking at medical conditions such as liver failure, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), respiratory diseases, certain types of cancers and metabolic disorders. In order to rule out all of the above, have your dentist assess the cause behind your bad breath.

6. Yellow teeth and stained teeth are the same

False, because yellow teeth and stained teeth are two completely different conditions! Yellow teeth could be caused by intrinsic stains and will take more than just daily brushing and regular visits to the dentist to solve.t to solve.

On top of that, natural causes such as physiological ageing can also be the reason behind yellow teeth3. Meanwhile, stained teeth are caused by extrinsic stains, and can be treated with non-invasive methods such as scaling and polishing.

7. You should only change toothbrush once the bristles are completely frayed

This is both false and unhealthy for your teeth and gums. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) advise to change your toothbrush once every three months4, no matter the condition of the bristles.

Firstly, three months is the standard lifetime of all toothbrushes, because once it exceeds that duration, it does not clean as effectively anymore. Secondly, bristles that are worn out are more prone to bacterial growth, and when your teeth are not cleaned properly, chances of experiencing dental problems such as halitosis will increase.

8. Home remedies are all that's needed to whiten the teeth

This myth about teeth whitening is only partially true, because the process of whitening the teeth is more complicated than it sounds. Home remedies such as charcoal powder and baking soda may give you instantaneous results, but it may also harm your teeth enamel in the long run.

Depending on your needs and desired outcome, dentists will recommend in-office teeth whitening procedures as a starting point, followed by a non-invasive regular maintenance in the form of teeth whitening toothpastes which are available over the counter.

9. There's no need to visit the dentist if you are not experiencing any toothache

Dental problems are often invisible to ourselves as we aren't all educated to check the condition of our mouth. Furthermore, when pressing problems such as cavities start to form, you don't always immediately feel its effects. Therefore, visiting the dentist gives you full visibility of your oral health. As a start, go for a check-up once every 6 months.

10. Flossing is not needed if you brush your teeth twice a day

Brushing and flossing always go hand in hand to protect your teeth, so this myth is definitely false! According to Healthline, regular flossing along with proper brushing work wonders in preventing the accumulation of tartar on the teeth.

On top of that, there are areas that the toothbrush cannot clean effectively such as in-between the teeth, so you will definitely need dental floss to clean the food particles that are stuck there. Otherwise, it might lead to cavities. With various myths about baby teeth, adult teeth, teeth brushing and more now debunked, you now know a little bit more about your teeth and gums!

Since prevention is always better than cure, always floss your teeth before you brush, and choose a toothpaste that specialises in protecting your oral health such as gum and teeth care toothpastes.


  1. James M Stephen, M. D. (2019, November 12). Gingivitis clinical presentation: History, physical, causes. Gingivitis Clinical Presentation: History, Physical, Causes. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from
  2. WP;, S. A. J. (n.d.). Diet and dental caries: The pivotal role of Free Sugars reemphasized. Journal of dental research. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from
  3. Haralur, S. B. (2015, August). Effect of age on tooth shade, skin color and skin-tooth color interrelationship in Saudi Arabian subpopulation. Journal of international oral health : JIOH. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, March 25). Use & handling of toothbrushes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from