Brushing your teeth is a vital part of your oral hygiene. But brushing too hard, or not enough, can have major implications on your oral health. To reap the benefits of daily brushing, it’s important to do so correctly. Below are 10 mistakes people make when brushing their teeth.
1. Brushing Too Hard.
This is the most common mistake people make when brushing their teeth. There is a misconception that the power of your stroke is what cleans your teeth. It is the motion of your brush that does the cleaning. Brushing your teeth too hard can wear out your tooth enamel and gums and cause tooth sensitivity. If the bristles of your tooth brush are splayed out, you are brushing too hard.
2. Using a tooth brush that is too hard.
Again, it is not the firmness of your toothbrush that cleans your teeth. It is the motion of your brushing. Using a toothbrush that is too hard can also result in loss of enamel and gum tissue, and can be painful if you are not careful. When selecting a toothbrush, I recommend using the softest one you can find, like the Gum 317 Post-Surgical Toothbrush.
3. Not changing your brush often enough.
Most people will change their toothbrush twice a year, if you’re lucky. And this is not often enough. Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush every three months. Not only is using a toothbrush for too long unhygienic, the brush typically loses its effectiveness after three months.
4. Using the wrong toothpaste.
All of the added features in toothpaste today come at a cost to your oral health. The abrasive chemicals and textures intended to whiten your teeth can actually strip them of the enamel, and as a result make them darker. My recommendation is to use the most natural and least abrasive toothpaste you can find. To find out how abrasive your toothpaste is, reference this chart.
5. Not brushing your tongue.
Your tongue is a receptacle for germs and most often the cause of bad breath. When you’re done brushing, use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue or brush your tongue with your toothbrush. This will reduce the number of germs in your mouth and improve your breath.
6. Not brushing long enough.
While it seems like a long time, it’s recommended that you brush your teeth for two minutes – 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth. On average, I find that people are brushing their teeth for 45 seconds or less, which is not long enough to properly clean your teeth and remove all food and plaque.
7. Brushing in the same pattern every time.
If you always start by brushing your teeth in the upper right and end at the lower left, there’s a good chance you’re missing the same areas every day. To prevent this, change up the pattern in which you brush your teeth. It may take some intentional thought, but it will ensure that all of your teeth are being cleaned properly.
8. Brushing the wrong area of the tooth.
When you’re younger, you typically get cavities on the top of your teeth. As a result, you’re taught to brush your teeth only in that area. As an adult, the most important areas to brush are along your gum line, in between the teeth and the back of the teeth. Brushing should be done at a 45-degree angle, along the gum line with a special focus on the molars.
9. Not Flossing.
While this isn’t necessarily a brushing mistake, it’s a big mistake for your oral hygiene. Brushing can only reach certain parts of your teeth and flossing is needed to thoroughly clean your teeth. If you’re not used to flossing daily, start with the intention of flossing one or two teeth. Eventually you will work up to flossing your whole mouth, which will help prevent cavities and bad breath.
10. Brushing too much, or not enough.
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. Brushing your teeth once a day is not enough and three times a day is too much, especially if you are making any of the mistakes above. If you are concerned about keeping your teeth clean between brushing, try using floss or an opal pick to clean your teeth between brushing.
If you avoid the above mistakes, you will you save thousands of dollars on dental care – your teeth will last longer and you’ll have a smile that you love.
Starting to see the effects of poor bushing habits? Call our dentist office today to set up an appointment.