You have been very dedicated to brushing your teeth twice a day, ignoring sugary and starchy foods, and changing your lifestyle to protect your natural teeth. Yet, it seems like you still don’t get all the benefits that brushing confers.
When it comes to oral hygiene, consistency is not good enough. It’s how you do it properly, or you will later find yourself dealing with dental issues. To fully enjoy a healthy, clean mouth, here are some of the most common toothbrushing mistakes you might be making, along with simple tips to rectify them.
Mistake 1: Not brushing long enough
Whether due to your super hectic schedules or you’re just plain lazy. Either way, you are harming your pearly whites more than you can imagine. When brushing your teeth, there’s no such thing as a shortcut.
ADA recommends brushing your teeth for full 45 seconds or 2 minutes. You can set up a timer or purchase an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer to ensure you don’t go below or beyond the timespan. You can also play your favorite song while brushing to distract yourself.
Mistake 2: Brushing too hard or aggressively
If you think brushing with too much pressure will quickly help wash away debris and bacteria in your mouth, well, you’re actually risking the health of your enamel. It may result in tooth sensitivity or gum recession.
Regardless of which areas of the mouth you are brushing, always use gentle pressure. It will thoroughly clean your teeth while protecting your enamel.
Mistake 3: Brushing your teeth the wrong way
Chances are, your brushing technique is the one jeopardizing your oral health. Do you typically use extensive, side-to-side strokes? Perhaps you brush in a similar pattern each time? Now’s the right moment to change this habit.
Hold your toothbrush at 45 degrees angle to your gums. Move up and down in small spherical motions while using short strokes. Clean the insides and outsides of your tooth surfaces, particularly those hard-to-reach spots. Make it also a priority to change the pattern in which you brush your teeth to ensure you’re not missing any areas.
Mistake 4: Skipping your tongue and gum line
A lot of people surely miss this step. Remember that your tongue serves as a breeding ground for bacteria to accumulate, which causes cavities and bad breath. So, cleaning it is as crucial as brushing your teeth. The same holds true for your gum line.
Continue with the tongue after cleaning all the surfaces of your mouth, or use a tongue scraper. As for your gum line, you can use the angle technique, which means brushing at 45 degrees angle against your gum line. Well, it’s not that really tough, right?
Mistake 5: Using the wrong toothbrush and/or toothpaste
Yes, even your toothbrush and toothpaste have the veto power whether to keep your oral health in check or let it go sideways.
Top up your soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for extreme protection against teeth and gum damage. Whether to purchase an electric or manual brush is a personal preference. Both serve their purpose well, but electric models have an edge. Thanks to their immaculate cleaning, convenient brushing duration, and the ideal amount of pressure.
Mistake 6: Using an old, stiff, or worn-out toothbrush
Have a hard time letting go of your old toothbrush? Sure, you can keep it, but don’t use it for a couple of months. That’s a no-no! A stiff and fraying toothbrush can be too coarse and won’t do much cleaning your teeth.
Swap your old or frayed toothbrush to a brand new one every three or four months. Frequent replacement is necessary once you notice the bristles are becoming worn out or pointing in an off-beam direction.
Mistake 7: Putting inadequate or excessive toothpaste
There are also dangers to having too much and too little toothpaste. It makes your enamel wear out quickly and eventually causes decay and cavities in the teeth.
The rule of thumb is to slather only a pea-sized amount of paste on your toothbrush. It is enough to keep your smile healthy for years to come.
Mistake 8: Storing your toothbrush improperly
Don’t make the same gross mistake of storing your toothbrush out open in your bathroom. You’re only attracting millions of bacteria, primarily due to water particles in the air from flushing the toilet.
Rinse and air-dry your toothbrush before storing it in the drawer or cabinet. Avoid using a toothbrush cover to prevent moisture from getting trapped and bacteria from reproducing.
Mistake 9: Rinsing with water immediately after toothbrushing
Do you rinse with water after brushing your teeth? As it turns out, that’s not a smart move at all. Water will dilute the fluoride, which is essential for preventing tooth decay and bolstering enamel.
Do not rinse after brushing to let the fluoride stay on teeth surfaces and work its magic. Use mouthwash instead. If not, spit out as much as possible, then wipe up your mouth.
Mistake 10: Ignoring to floss
Unnecessary it may seem, flossing can essentially make a difference in your smile and even save you from expensive dental costs. It makes sure no harmful bacteria are lingering between your teeth.
Make flossing a daily habit, generally once every day. It will help avoid bad breath and cavities. Get a string of floss and gently move it up and down against your tooth’s side. You can start with one or two teeth if you’re still new to flossing. Work your way up until you’re confident flossing your whole mouth.
Mistake 11: Brushing your teeth after eating or drinking
Many people also make the mistake of brushing too soon after drinking or eating a meal. However, it can only cause further damage to the enamel, especially when you consume acidic foods. Your saliva will reach a higher acid content, and your mouth’s pH levels will significantly plunge.
Wait for at least 20 to 30 minutes, preferably one hour, before cleaning your teeth. It will give your saliva sufficient time to neutralize surplus acid.
So, have you been making these common mistakes? Make necessary changes today to have that gorgeous smile for life!