Busting myths. Confirming facts. Highlighting stats.

Stats source:
20 Questions: Oral Hygiene | Base: 1314 respondents, 07/11-04/12/2019

Brushing, flossing, rinsing… Are those really the basics of proper oral hygiene? Is flossing overrated? Do people think that brushing more often or harder makes your teeth healthier? 

We explored the awareness of the most popular myths and facts on basic oral hygiene such as:

Let’s go through the key findings together and bust some myths today! 


#1: Good oral hygiene takes time:

We all would like to improve our oral health in a minute, wouldn’t we? In fact, building a good oral hygiene routine requires consistency. And it seems like 90% of respondents are aware of this fact.

Tip: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Add small positive changes to your routine and this will gradually contribute to a better hygiene. Remember the easy rules: brush twice a day for 2 minutes, floss once, use mouthwash, limit sugary and high-acid foods, and go to dental check-ups every 6 months. 


#2: The more you brush your teeth, the healthier they’ll be:

This is one popular notion perceived as a fact by ⅔ of survey participants. 

However, brushing your teeth too frequently can lead to enamel wearout. Ideally, you can brush your teeth after each main meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you have a busy schedule, twice a day is also sufficient if you do it properly. During the day you can replace brushing with using mouthwash or oral hygiene foam. 



#3: Hard brushing doesn’t make teeth cleaner:

DentaVox research shows that over 60% of respondents realize that brushing hard is not the best idea if you want your teeth to be clean and healthy

Hard brushing can damage your gums and teeth surface. Remember: It’s the technique that matters. Brush gently with circular motions in a 45-degree angle to your gums.  


#4: Brushing teeth less than 2 minutes is insufficient:

Although the majority of survey participants confirm this statement, it is interesting to note that 15% of them disagree. 

It seems like our schedules interfere with our routines too often, right? You’re late for school or work in the morning, or you desperately need to go to bed in the evening… Whatever the circumstances, don’t cut the brushing time short. Teeth need both time to recover from previous bad habits, and time to adjust to the improved ones. Hold on!  


#5: You shouldn’t brush too close to the gum line:

Respondents seem hesitant here but the majority of them agree with this notion. 

Indeed, we should try to protect our gums. Not brushing close to the gum line is not a solution, though, as it hinders the proper cleaning of teeth. Bacteria often hang out where your tooth meets your gum – exactly there, at those 1-2 millimeters below your gum. This area is easily reachable; just make sure your toothbrush bristles can bend, don’t forget to keep the 45-degree angle, and don’t brush too hard. 


#6: It’s not recommended to brush teeth immediately after eating:

It seems like 41% of survey participants think that brushing teeth immediately after food is a good habit. 

We are sorry to break it to you but that’s just not a good idea as the acids in the food and drinks you consume tend to soften your enamel for a time. Brushing away the cavity-forming bacteria after eating is certainly important but wait minimum 30 minutes before you do it in order to protect your enamel. 


#7: You shouldn’t eat anything after brushing teeth at night:

Here we have a clear crowd agreement: No food after brushing teeth at night is the habit that 82% of respondents preach (and, hopefully, practice). 

It’s important to brush your teeth before bed and not eat anything afterwards so plaque bacteria can’t feast while you are sleeping. This also gives the fluoride in your toothpaste the longest opportunity to work.


#8: Overuse of brush may harm teeth:

Over 50% of respondents think that overbrushing can harm teeth. 

And that’s indeed true. Brushing too much, too frequently and/ or too hard can all cause abrasion of the outermost layer of your teeth, the enamel. So don’t overdo it; just do enough.  



#9: Older people’s teeth or dentures don’t need brushing:

We are glad to see that 76% of survey participants don’t underestimate the importance of oral care for elderly people. 

Oral hygiene matters in all ages. Don’t forget that your mouth is connected to your entire body so poor dental status can influence your general health negatively. Regardless of whether you wear dentures or you have managed to preserve your natural teeth, remember to practice proper oral hygiene routine. 


#10: You shouldn’t change your toothbrush every 3 months if it looks good:

Although more people disagree, 28% still think that if their toothbrush has not significantly changed its appearance, then it doesn’t need to be replaced as per the experts’ advice. 

The fact: Don’t trust appearance too much. Even if your toothbrush looks good, it might have been stored improperly and thus filled with bacteria. Also, if you’ve used your toothbrush regularly, it’s not very likely that the bristles are in perfect condition. So make it a habit to change your toothbrush or brush head every 3 months. More often replacements (every month) are recommended if you have gum disease. And last but not least: Don’t forget to change it after you’ve been sick. 


#11: Putting a cap on your toothbrush protects it from bacteria:

This popular notion seems to have misled the majority of respondents – 62%. 

Actually, using toothbrush covers creates a moist-enclosed breeding ground for bacteria. To keep your toothbrush clean, please rinse it with tap water after using, let it dry between brushings, and keep it upright in a holder. Moreover, don’t exchange your toothbrush with anyone else and don’t keep it to close to other toothbrushes to avoid swapping germs. 


#12: Chewing sugar-free gum is just as good as brushing:

More than half of respondents disagree with this statement. And they surely have enough arguments to do so. 

That should be every kid’s dream, right? Well, chewing xylitol gum might encourage saliva production which helps wash away the acids from foods, drinks, etc. It can’t replace brushing, though. Brushing and flossing remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth – a trait which is not in the scope of a chewing gum. 


#13: You need to use a toothpick after eating:

On this matter survey participants are hesitant. Still, 43% agree that using a toothpick after consuming teeth is needed. 

The truth is you can potentially harm your gums with a toothpick, thus opening the way for bacteria to go into the gum and cause an infection. So here is a better idea: Replace the toothpick with dental floss. You can reach the space between all your teeth much easier and the risk of injuring your gums is significantly lower. 


#14: Flossing isn’t really necessary anymore:

Here we are. When talking about oral hygiene, we can’t skip the good, not-so-old dental floss.

It’s indeed a positive finding that 60% of respondents still believe flossing is essential for good oral health. Which it is. Not using a dental floss means not cleaning 35% of your teeth surfaces. Here are a few main benefits of regular flossing: 


#15: If your gums bleed when you floss, it’s best to stop:

Improper use of dental floss might slightly harm your gums. But that doesn’t mean you should give up flossing as the answers of 76% of respondents imply. 

Moreover, it’s much more likely for your gums to bleed due to inflammation caused by bacteria and plaque stuck between teeth. Make flossing a daily habit to avoid this condition. 


#16: Flossing can create spaces between your teeth:

It’s surprising to see that ⅓ of survey participants agree with this statement, another ⅓ can’t make a decision, and the rest – disagree. 

The fact: Dental floss is so thin that it surely does not create spaces between your teeth. Sometimes if you have plaque and tartar buildup between teeth, it can be difficult to floss – one sign that it’s time for a professional teeth cleaning! 


#17: Mouthwash can replace brushing:

Nothing can replace brushing or at least that’s what 76% claim for mouthwash. 

Most of us have done it – a quick swish and spit instead of a 2-min brush as we’d been running out of time. But don’t be fooled: Mouthwash is just a short-term solution for fresher breath and bacteria removal. However, only toothbrush and floss can properly remove the sticky plaque and bacteria from your teeth. 


#18: No need to floss if you’ve used mouthwash:

The majority of people disagree here. And so do experts. 

As we’ve just mentioned, flossing reaches areas that no other oral hygiene technique can. Add brushing, flossing, and rinsing to your routine and don’t try to replace any of them to ensure proper hygiene. 


#19: Professional teeth cleaning should be performed every 6 months:

The majority of respondents (78%) confirm this statement. 

Experts give a much more individualized advice, though. Yes, you should go to a dental check-up every 6 months – that’s a must-follow oral health recommendation. But whether or not you’ll need a professional teeth cleaning can only be defined by your dentist upon examination. Tartar and plaque form in the mouth at different rates; therefore, some people need teeth cleaning once a year, others – every month. Don’t try to estimate which group you belong to. Listen to your dentist. 


#20: Tooth scaling/ cleaning weakens teeth:

Although many survey participants are hesitant, the larger share of them disagree with this statement.

Please remember: Your teeth have many enemies but tooth cleaning is not one of them. This procedure removes sticky plaque and calculus that your usual daily routine can’t sufficiently deal with. It’s essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.  


Which of those myths and facts were you aware of?

Share in the comments below! 

You don’t feel like commenting? 

While you are still on the topic, why don’t you: