We've Got Some Bad News About Your Favourite Dental Cleaning Hacks

How much do you know about your oral health?
RealPeopleGroup via Getty Images

You would think that by the time you become an adult, you would know everything there is to know about your teeth. Well, that’s not the case.

When it comes to dental health, many of us are still clueless. How many minutes should we spend brushing our teeth? How bad is coffee for our teeth?

The amount of information available on Google can be slightly overwhelming – with the world at our fingertips, it can be hard to know what information we can trust.

Although thousands of people turn to Dr. Google for their dental health concerns – particularly in the current dental crisis – it’s important to make sure that the knowledge you’re trusting is accurate.

Fortunately for us, Dr. Khaled Kasem, Chief Orthodontist at Impress, has broken down the most-Googled dental questions, so we don’t have to worry about the ins and outs of our teeth.

1. What is the best home remedy for wisdom tooth pain?

If you haven’t experienced wisdom tooth pain yet, good for you. If you have, you’ll know how debilitating the pain can be.

As this search term has increased by over 5000% in the last week, it’s clearly a pressing issue for patients across the UK who are having difficulty obtaining dental appointments in the current NHS dental crisis.

Over-the-counter painkillers or numbing gels will help support you whilst you’re waiting to visit a dental professional, and rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help fight against inflammation.

But, if you aren’t able to get over-the-counter painkillers you can use an ice pack to reduce swelling. The best thing for wisdom tooth pain is to visit a professional and obtain an x-ray to assess the growth of your tooth, and antibiotics to fight any infection, but the above tips can help to ease your pain whilst waiting for an appointment.

2. Is vaping bad for your teeth?

We know that vaping isn’t great for our overall health so it’s no surprise that it has an effect on our oral health - and not for the better.

Exposing your gums to a hot, drying vapour will increase the risk of gum disease and bad breath, whilst flavoured vapes will increase the amount of sugar in your mouth, potentially causing cavities.

Additionally, nicotine is a stimulant that often causes tooth grinding - which can wear away enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. Limiting your nicotine intake, keeping your teeth clean, and drinking plenty of water is the best way to try and negate the negative effects vaping can have on your oral health.

3. Do strawberries whiten teeth?

To put it simply, the strawberry teeth whitening ‘hack’ is, unfortunately, a myth.

It would be great to be able to munch on these sweet treats whilst our teeth become a few shades lighter.

But if anything mixing strawberries with abrasive substances like baking soda, as recommended on social media, can have a terrible effect on your teeth, as their acidic nature can wreak havoc on the tooth’s enamel.

4. Is it bad to brush your teeth too much?

‘Toothbrush abrasion’ is when the teeth are brushed too hard and too regularly, causing receding gums.

This causes the tooth’s root to be exposed and can make your teeth extremely sensitive. With a 210% increase in people searching for this in the past week, it’s clearly a question that eludes many.

It’s necessary to thoroughly brush your teeth and gums twice per day – once in the morning and once in the evening – although those wearing aligners will have to do this more frequently to remove any food and prevent infection-causing bacteria.

This should be done with a light pressure, so you can feel the bristles on your teeth but they don’t rub or hurt, to avoid wearing down your gums and enamel.

Try to stick to brushing twice per day unless told otherwise by a dental professional, and look out for bleeding gums or sensitive teeth – this may signify you’re brushing too much, or too hard.

5. Are clear aligners better than metal braces?

This question is being asked more as dental technology develops, with a 110% increase in searches within the last three months alone. It’s hard to say which of these treatments is ‘better’, as it will depend on the complexity of treatment needed.

However, there are a number of benefits that come with clear aligners that you won’t have with fixed metal braces. Firstly, the discretion of invisible aligners means they can be worn throughout the day with confidence, and treatment time is generally a lot shorter than with traditional metal braces.

They’re also removable so can be taken out for eating, drinking, and sports, and are much easier to keep clean.