Dental Myths – Fact or Fiction


This month we’d like to look at some dental myths that are floating around and we get asked about regularly by our patients.

  • Rinse you mouth after brushing – FALSE
    • Rinsing with plain water or mouthwash washes out the active ingredients in toothpaste that protect teeth (such as Fluoride)
    • Spitting out after brushing leaves a thin layer of fluoridated toothpaste on the teeth, which gets absorbed into the enamel to slowly strengthen it
  • Charcoal is safe to whiten teeth – a bit of both
    • Charcoal can absorb and neutralise toxins, so it is often used in gastro cases.
    • It is claimed to similarly absorb tooth stains
    • Charcoal can be abrasive so can strip the enamel if overused
    • It can lodge at the edges of fillings or in cracks, leaving a stain behind
  • Oil pulling is good for teeth and gums – a bit of both
    • Swishing coconut oil around in the mouth for 10-20 minutes has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce bacteria in the mouth
    • It is safe and may have similar effects to common mouthwashes
    • It doesn’t replace good brushing and flossing as will not remove all tooth deposits that may lead to cavities and gum disease.
  • Mouthwash is always good – False
    • Prolonged use of some mouthwashes can alter taste
    • Some studies have linked alcohol-containing mouthwashes to oral cancer
    • Good brushing and flossing, which removes plaque, is more beneficial that mouthwash
    • Some specific medicated mouthwashes prescribed by dentists may be essential for patients with gum disease or extensive cavities.
    • Many over-the-counter mouthwashes simply freshen the breath
  • Babies leach calcium from mum’s teeth – False
    • If mother’s calcium intake is low it will first of all be lost from her bones
    • Other things during pregnancy (e.g., snacking, reflux, vomiting) is more likely to increase tooth decay at this time
  • Root canals cause health problems – False
    • Root canals save teeth with infected nerves
    • There is no sound evidence to prove this link
    • This myth is from 1900s, when root canal treatment was primitive and not as precise as it is now.

So if you have heard of any dental myths or read about the latest dental craze on Facebook and not sure if it’s true ask your dentist first!