Brushing your teeth might seem like a simple activity, but in truth, most of us don’t actually have good tooth brushing practices. Fortunately, it’s never too late to adjust your habits for healthier teeth and gums. Here are six common toothbrushing mistakes that you should start fixing.
To pick the right toothbrush, you need to take several factors into account. Look for a brush that has soft bristles, which are flexible enough to bend and get right under your gums. Hard bristles don’t clean effectively and can actually wear down your tooth structure. The size of the brush head is also important, as you will want it to fit comfortably in your mouth. Lastly, look for the American Dental Association seal of approval.
Now, because it’s difficult to find the perfect brush, you might want to hang onto yours longer than you should. Change your brush every 3 to 4 months, or when bristles get bent or discolored. You should also change your toothbrush out after you’ve been sick. Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone else either and store it in the open air to keep mold or bacteria from growing.
You might think that scrubbing your teeth vigorously is what’s going to get them sparkling clean, but it can actually do more harm than good. Plaque, which is what causes gum diseases and tooth decay, is soft. Instead of scrubbing back-and-forth, left-to-right, think “massage” and instead do small, circular, up-and-down motions starting from your gums.
You might be diligent about brushing the outside of your teeth and the chewing surfaces, but do you also brush along the gum line and the inside of your teeth? Most people tend to miss those areas, which leads to a build-up of bacteria. To brush along your gum line, use a 45-degree angle and flexible bristles. Don’t forget to brush your tongue and the inside of your teeth either.
If you’re late for school or work, it can be tempting to do a few strokes and call it done. You should brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Use your phone to set a timer or play a song in the 2–3-minute range to help you keep track.
In addition, you need to ensure that you go the extra mile for at least one of your two brushing sessions in a day. That involves the addition of thorough flossing and mouthwash rinse. Stirring up the bacteria in your mouth once every day helps keep them less productive and dangerous.
After a meal, you might assume that you should brush immediately to get rid of anything stuck in your teeth. This is actually bad practice as the acid sitting in your mouth coupled with the abrasives from brushing will erode your teeth faster. Ideally, you should wait 15 to 20 minutes to allow your saliva to work on the acid or rinse your mouth with water before brushing.
While the toothbrushing method mentioned above is recommended for most patients, there are, however, other toothbrushing methods that your dental hygienist may recommend to ensure you don’t make any toothbrushing mistakes. There are modifications for pediatric, special needs, periodontal, and orthodontic patients. It’s important to talk with your dental hygienist and dentist to ensure you know which toothbrushing method may be right for you.
Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be scary, and they will be more than happy to help you with your toothbrushing mistakes or habits. If you’re looking for a family dentist, schedule an appointment with Dr. Abiodun Adesanya and our awesome team at My Bowie Dentist. With the best dentist in Bowie, MD, you can start your journey towards healthier teeth and gums today. Schedule your appointment by calling 301-464-1800 today.