Most Common Tooth Brushing Mistakes
March 20, 2019
Keeping your teeth in tip-top shape starts at home. Having good dental hygiene practices makes you and your dentist happy. Knowing how to correctly brush your teeth is essential for healthy teeth and gums, and helps to remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria. As it turns out, the brushing techniques that many of us learned as a kid are incorrect, or have been updated to fit the ADA’s standard as toothbrush technology has improved. Here’s what you need to know about brushing your teeth!
Using the Wrong Toothbrush
Choosing the correct toothbrush can be tricky, especially when there are so many options to choose from. Hard bristle brushes can wear away at your gums and even cause bleeding. So always go for a soft bristle brush. Soft bristles allow you to remove built up food and plaque without irritating your gums. Even with soft bristles be mindful not to use too much pressure on the gum area.
Not Replacing Your Toothbrush Often Enough
The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles start to fray. Using a toothbrush that is worn down prevents you from properly cleaning your teeth. It can also mean bad news for your gums. Using an old toothbrush adds pressure to your gums and can cause swelling, and redness.
Not Brushing Long Enough
Most people think they are brushing their teeth long enough, but that is not the case. The national average tooth brushing time is 45 seconds. The ADA recommends brushing for 2 minutes, this gives enough time to fully remove built up plaque and food. Be sure to set a timer when brushing your teeth or invest in a toothbrush with a built in timer.
Not Brushing Correctly
Brushing your teeth too hard or at the wrong angle can negatively impact the health of your teeth. According to the ADA you should brush your teeth at a 45 degree angle and move the brush back and forth in short tooth wide strokes. Then, brush the surface areas of the teeth using the same motion. Lastly, tilt the brush vertically and move up and down to brush the inside surface of the front teeth.
Avoiding Your Tongue
Many people forget, or do not brush their tongue, but brushing your tongue is a very important step in the dental hygiene routine. It removes built up bacteria and prevents bad breath. Many toothbrushes have a tongue cleaner on the opposite side from the bristles, which makes for easy tongue cleaning. You can also invest in a tongue scraper for a more thorough cleaning.
Skipping The Floss
Even though flossing is everyone’s least favorite part of their dental routine it is a must. Flossing removes built up tooth-decaying bacteria, food particles, and plaque that can linger in-between teeth, even after you’ve brushed them. Flossing also helps to remove particles from your gum line that can cause irritation, redness, and swelling.
Brushing Right After Eating
You might think that brushing your pearly whites right after eating or drinking is good for your mouth – think again. After consuming food your saliva has a higher acid content, brushing right after eating causes the acid to rub deeper into the enamel of your teeth. The ADA recommends waiting 60 minute after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth. You can chew sugar free gum or drink water while waiting to brush your teeth.
Storing Toothbrush Improperly
You are probably one of the millions of people that store their toothbrush in the bathroom near the toilet. Every time you flush your toilet the contents of the bowl splashes in all directions, including on your toothbrush. Keep your toothbrush away from your toilet. Consider storing your toothbrush in your medicine cabinet or your bedside table. Make sure the toothbrush is not in an airtight container, as this can cause bacteria to grow more rapidly.
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