Brushing teeth is part of our daily routine. Most of us believe that we know the right way to do it, but do we really? Here are the most common tooth brushing mistakes.
A beautiful smile can take you a long way. You can definitely count on it whenever you want to make a great first impression, be it for a job interview or social interaction.
Smiling makes you and everyone around you happier and it’s a powerful way to say how confident you are.
On the other hand, people who are not comfortable with the way their smile looks tend to avoid smiling or even worse cover their mouth.
But that is not who you want to be, is it?
It is, therefore, essential that you care for your dental hygiene and brush your teeth the proper way.
So, let’s talk about some common tooth brushing mistakes that most of us do but everyone should avoid.
1) Not brushing long enough
This is one the biggest tooth brushing mistakes that most people do. Did you know that you are supposed to brush your teeth for 2 minutes? It sounds a lot but this is actually what most dentists will advise you to do. This amount of time, along with a proper technique, protects your teeth from plaque. No matter how much you want to speed things up and go to bed you just have to keep going. Use a timer and turn the water off if that helps.
2) Not brushing often enough
It is recommended to brush teeth at least twice a day. It should be the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning and the last one before going to bed. When you have a long day ahead, the last thing you want is people avoiding getting close to you because of your foul breath. And at the end of it, you don’t really want to let those filthy bacteria throw a night-long party in your mouth, do you?
This is why it is so important to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Get rid of the bacteria and prevent the plaque from building up.
To take this one step further, try to clean your teeth whenever you eat or drink sugary foods. They are the main cause of tooth decay. But avoid doing it right after eating. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing, or otherwise, you actually risk harming your teeth.
3) Overdoing it
Brushing too often or too hard is as harmful as not doing it at all. Why is that? Because too much can irritate the gums and wear down your teeth’s enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in your body and the outer shell of the teeth. It is also partially responsible for the color of the teeth.
The thing about enamel though is that it cannot be replaced by your body. So if it is destroyed, it is gone for good and the teeth are left exposed and susceptible to damage. Try to be gentle when you brush and you will see better results.
4) Using the wrong toothbrush
As the dentists suggest, your toothbrush should be of small to medium size and comfortable to hold. That way it can reach every part of your mouth and not be a pain to hold for two minutes every time. As far as the bristles are concerned, there are just so many variations to pick from. Your toothbrush, though, should have soft to medium multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles, as the British Dental Health Foundation recommends.
Regarding the manual or electric toothbrushes, some studies suggest that the latter are more effective but in the end, it’s the “brusher” that matters not the brush.
If you cannot decide which toothbrush to buy, ask your dentist for a recommendation.
5) Using the same toothbrush for too long
Considering that you brush your teeth often and long enough, you should change your toothbrush every three to four months, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). If the bristles are frayed, do it more often. Do not keep a toothbrush for too long because it will eventually gather bacteria on the brush and handle and lose its effectiveness.
6) Not brushing correctly
It is generally recommended that you :
- Place your toothbrush at a 45° angle to the gum line and move it in small circular movements, back and forth, to cover the surfaces of all the teeth.
- Brush the outer surface of each tooth, upper and lower.
- Brush the inner surface of each tooth. To do that, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Brush your tongue to keep your breath fresh and remove any bacteria.
7) Not using dental floss
Brushing your teeth is extremely important but that alone cannot guarantee a good dental health. That’s because there are places between and around your teeth that your toothbrush cannot easily reach. Food and bacteria build up there and eventually form tartar. This is why flossing is so important. Doing it at least once a day removes plaque between the teeth and keeps your whole mouth fresh and healthy. You should, therefore, try to add flossing to your daily routine.
8) Not keeping the brush clean
Now, let’s be honest. Almost none of us cleans the toothbrush. And that’s a huge mistake because bacteria gather there as well. Replacing it often, as previously mentioned, is important but keeping the one you already have clean, matters. So, rinse the brush right after brushing your teeth and shake it vigorously so that it is as dry as possible before storing it. A damp brush is a great environment for bacteria and a sure way to shorten its lifespan. Always have a cup to keep it in and never let it touch anything else other than your mouth.
A smart way to get rid of the bacteria is to sink the brush in boiling water once every now and then. Another good idea is to keep a spare brush at home. That way, if you notice that the one you normally use is damaged in any way, you can use the second one.
9) Not cleaning your tongue
Although this one is already mentioned as part of the proper brushing technique, further elaboration is needed. Cleaning the tongue is a part of the process that almost everyone neglects. This is because most people forget that bacteria exist on the tongue too. So, just removing them from the teeth is not enough. If using a tongue scraper seems too much, try at least to use the bristles of your brush to get the job done.
10) Starting from the same spot
Most people have a specific routine when it comes to brushing. On of the most common tooth brushing mistakes is that they always start from the same spot and as time goes by they may get a little bored and end up skipping some parts of the mouth. Further more, some studies suggest that there is a correlation between the dominant hand and the side of the mouth that is better cleaned. In short, it seems that right-handed people, for example, tend to spend more time brushing the teeth on the left side of their mouth.
So what should you do? Try to mix things up. Change your routine from time to time and begin with a different place.
11) Not rinsing after
If you think that brushing and flossing are all you need to do, well… you are wrong. The way you rinse afterward is crucial to make sure that the bacteria are gone for good. Use a fluoride rinse or a mouthwash to freshen your breath, remove any remaining germs and reduce plaque. If you don’t have one, use water instead. Rinse well, spit and…that’s it!
These are the most common tooth brushing mistakes. Understandably, all the above may seem a lot to follow strictly but the whole procedure, when done correctly, lasts roughly 3-4 minutes. Is this too much for a great dental health and a beautiful smile?
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