Oral Health

Updated 18 January 2018

Dental care myths

Check to see how many of these myths on dental care you believed.


Teeth get brushed every day, flossed occasionally and for the rest they don't get a huge amount of attention. That is until they start causing you pain and discomfort. Few things are more painful than a tooth abscess – and no one can ignore it, however hard they try. 

Check to see which of these myths about dental care you believed: 

Brush your teeth first thing in the morning. There's no harm in doing this, unless you then eat breakfast, and leave home for the day without cleaning your teeth again. Think about it: if you have your breakfast, your teeth won't be clean – and it could be 12 hours or more before you brush them again.

Cavities in baby teeth don't matter. Baby teeth will all disappear, but if cavities are not treated, they can cause serious infections. Also, if your baby has cavities, it can point to problems in its dental care routine, which might have future consequences.

Sugar rots your teeth. Not really. What matters is how long the sugar is in contact with your teeth. Acid formed by oral bacteria can damage your teeth. The longer the exposure, the more the damage. If you have eaten a sugar-laden snack, it's a good idea to brush your teeth as this will minimise the damage.

Tooth sensitivity points to cavities. No, it does not. You could simply have a receding gum that exposes some of the root surface of your teeth.

The more often you brush your teeth, the better. No, not really. Too frequent brushing, especially with a hard toothbrush could cause abrasion of the enamel on your teeth. If your toothbrush becomes soft and useless after a month only, you could be brushing too hard.

Everyone's gums bleed when they brush their teeth. No they don't. It could be that you are brushing your teeth in such a way that you are injuring your gums, or you could have inflammation because of plaque accumulation.

Oral health care problems only affect the mouth. Many studies have shown a link between poor dental care and heart problems. The mouth is teeming with bacteria, and this could get into your bloodstream if you have serious gum disease. This could increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Only kids can wear braces. Adults can wear braces to correct poorly positioned teeth. It just takes longer in adulthood for teeth to shift.

All older people get dentures. This is simply untrue. In years gone by, the solution to dental problems was often to remove teeth. These days dentists are far more skilled in preserving teeth and the focus of dental car has definitely shifted in that direction, More and more older people have their real teeth these days.

Read more:

Choose the right toothbrush

(Compiled by Susan Erasmus, Health24, October 2012)

(Webmd.com; basicoralcare.com;  Health24.com; mayoclinic.com) 


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Oral health expert

Dr Imraan Hoosen qualified from the Medical University of South Africa in 1997. Together with his partner, Dr Hoosen now runs a group of dental practices around Johannesburg (Lesedi Private Hospital, Highlands North Medical Centre , Brenthurst Clinic, Parklane Clinic, Simmonds Street Medical and Dental Centre, Soni Medical Centre- Newclare). Dr Hoosen can be contacted on 011 933 4096.

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