Top 5 Tooth Brushing Mistakes
Tips on How to Properly Brush Your Teeth
We all want to keep our smiles nice and healthy, but it takes much more effort than just making sure you make it to your routine cleaning visits to the dentist. Good dental hygiene starts with what you do at home. You may think you are practicing superb hygiene religiously, but you may in fact be practicing some tooth brushing mistakes that are doing more harm than good without you even knowing. Keep reading to find out how to avoid these common mistakes and how to properly brush your teeth so you can better maintain clean and healthy teeth and gums. Some tips you may know, some may come as quite a surprise!
1. Using the same toothbrush for too long
When was the last time you changed your toothbrush? If you’ve used your toothbrush over 200 times….it’s time to swap for a new one. It’s a mistake to not change your toothbrush often enough. At about 200 uses, your toothbrush bristles are considered too worn out and frayed and will be unable to clean your mouth thoroughly. Another thing to consider is that bacteria and old food particles from previous brushing will start to accumulate after a couple months of daily use of the same toothbrush, so change out your toothbrush at least every 3 months, or 2 to be extra safe.
2. Not brushing your teeth long enough
Did you know that the average person only brushes their teeth for 45 seconds? Many make the mistake of not brushing for the right amount of time. So how long should you brush your teeth? Believe it or not, brushing your teeth for any length shorter than 2 minutes prevents the fluoride in your toothpaste from latching to your enamel to protect it. Two minutes might seem a lot longer when you are estimating the time, but it is important to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes 2 times a day for effectiveness. Are you getting all areas of your teeth including the areas in the back? A good tip is to actually time your teeth brushing, in intervals in different sections of your mouth to make sure all areas are thoroughly covered. A great tool is to switch to an electric toothbrush, with timer features.
3. Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing
Yes…you read that right. This one may come as a surprise, as you’re actually not supposed to rinse your mouth with water after all your hard work brushing your teeth. Introducing sink or tap water back into your mouth after you spit out the toothpaste will actually significantly decrease the efficiency of the fluoride from your toothpaste. Not many are taught this when learning how to brush your teeth properly. What to do instead? Use mouthwash or mouth rinse containing fluoride instead of water to rinse out, gargle, and spit out when you’re done brushing. Also, refrain from drinking water or beverages for at least half an hour after you’re done brushing teeth.
4. Not using dental floss
You’ve probably heard this over and over from your dentist, but do not forget to floss at least once on a daily basis! When it comes to brushing teeth, this mistake is done by many. Flossing properly at least once a day helps remove plaque buildup between your teeth where your toothbrush bristles aren’t able to fully reach. Bacteria thrives in places in between your gums and teeth where there are food bits. If the food particles are not removed from proper flossing and brushing, it turns to plaque. The plaque will then harden over time, turning into calcified deposits and eventually into tartar. Set up a routine to use dental floss at least once at the end of the day after your last meal to remove as much food particles as possible before brushing your teeth. If it is difficult with braces, use floss threader to guide the floss through the wires easily.
5. Practicing improper brushing technique and motion
If you have been brushing your teeth using back and forth motions – stop immediately! This is a highly damaging tooth brushing mistake. You may be scraping and damaging the soft-tissue lining between your gums and teeth. Here’s how to brush teeth correctly – The proper motion is to actually brush using circular motions which are considered more gentle and effective for cleaning your teeth and gums. The toothbrush should be making contact with your gum line and teeth simultaneously. Brushing too hard can also be damaging to your teeth and gums. If the bristles are bending while you brush, you are brushing too hard.
Are you guilty of any of the tooth brushing mistakes we discussed above? Don’t worry, it’s not too late to change your routine and learn how to properly brush your teeth. A great tip is to begin adding a change to your brushing routine every week to learn and solidify a new habit. You will begin to see and feel a noticeable difference in the freshness and cleanliness of your mouth overall.
Related: 7 Best Foods for Your Teeth