Common dental habits that are bad for your teeth

With a myriad of information out there with some conflicting views on correct dental habits, myths and health, cutting through the noise can sometimes be hard work. Well fear not, as we are here to help. Using the decades of experience of our revered clinicians, we have pulled together a list of the most common personal dental habits that are actually bad for your teeth, as well as the best alternatives to keep your teeth healthy and strong: 

1. Wetting your toothpaste before brushing – we would not recommend this because toothpaste already contains water, and so wetting it further could dilute it and therefore reduce its effectiveness for cleaning your teeth

2. Rinsing with water or mouthwash after brushing – this actually just washes away all the helpful ingredients in toothpaste like fluoride. If you refrain from rinsing, a layer of toothpaste will be left on your teeth, helping to protect them and prevent tooth decay

3. Mouthwash is great for cleaning my teeth – mouthwash could in fact give you a false sense of cleanliness and is definitely no substitute for removing plaque with your toothbrush and interdental brushes. It should also only be used at a different time of day to brushing

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4. Brushing is best straight after eating – the pH level in your mouth changes when you eat or drink, making it more acidic and softening surface enamel, so brushing after eating could cause more damage. Instead wait 20-30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth
5. Scrubbing my teeth hard will make them cleaner – this can actually damage the surface of your teeth and make your gums recede, so be gentle when you brush your teeth

6. Brushing back and forth is best – this is incorrect, and you should instead brush in a circular motion. Using an electric toothbrush with a small, round head will help you with this

7. Avoid brushing the gums – you should actually actively brush your gum line, as this is where the plaque sits

8. Baby teeth don’t matter – false! Children need dental appointments as soon as teeth start to appear, as milk teeth pave the way for adult teeth, so any dental problems that lead to early loss of baby teeth could mean that the adult teeth don’t grow in the right position

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9. I don’t need to keep wearing my retainer once my teeth are straight – teeth will start to move again if you never wear your retainer, so you should wear it at least occasionally as long as you want your teeth to be straight

10. Dental implants don’t need maintenance – although they won’t deteriorate, you can still get gum disease around implants so always ensure you keep them as clean as possible


Our patients are our community, and we want to ensure that we are still here for you at this time. That’s why we have created a COVID-19 hub, for all the advice you will need to care for your teeth and oral health from home until you visit your dentist

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