Brushing your teeth seems like a pretty simple activity to do to keep teeth and gums healthy; why do so many of us end up in our dentist’s office perplexed at the level of disease and decay that exists in our mouths? Maybe tooth brushing isn’t as simple as it seems; what if we’ve picked up some bad habits along the way that are contributing to oral disease and decay? There are common mistakes that many people make that contribute to poor oral health. Follow these simple tips for a healthy, gleaming smile AND a great report from your dentist:
Mistake #1: Keeping a toothbrush for too long
If you were to examine your toothbrush, what would you see? Do you leave toothpaste residue in between bristles, adding to the potential development of bacteria in your mouth? Are your bristles worn and tattered? The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, so if you haven’t done so, it’s time to run to the store for a new toothbrush. Mark your calendar after purchasing, and commit to this simple act of self-care periodically as you shop for other household items. Your teeth will thank you.
Mistake #2: Not brushing long enough
Your brush should be brushed for at least two minutes, twice a day. This is about the length of the song Happy Birthday, sung two times through. While you can’t sing with a toothbrush in your mouth, you could hum or sing along in your head, making sure you scrub all surfaces of teeth, gums, and even your tongue thoroughly, rinse well afterward to make sure your mouth is squeaky clean.
Mistake #3: Brushing teeth too hard
Brushing your teeth too hard, or with a brush that has hard, wiry bristles can actually cause damage to your teeth. You can wear away protective enamel and erode gum tissue by brushing too hard. Use a gentle circular motion when brushing, and you’ll keep all tooth and gum surfaces intact.
Mistake #4: Brushing right after eating
If you have consumed something acidic, it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. Brushing too soon after eating or drinking acidic foods will actually embed the acid still present in the mouth into the enamel of your teeth, causing damage and erosion. Giving your saliva a chance to neutralize acid will prevent excess erosion from occurring.
Mistake #5: Storing brushes improperly
Your toothbrush should be well rinsed after every use, and it should be stored upright, giving it a chance to air out completely. Storing in an airtight container or in a glass with liquid gives germs and bacteria an opportunity to grow on your bristles, putting you at risk for more bacteria and infection to grow in your mouth with each use.
Mistake #6: Using improper brushing technique
Your tooth brushing should be done in a gentle, circular motion, encompassing both all tooth surfaces and gum tissue. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle, and use wide, thorough strokes when brushing, including the tongue and insides of cheeks as well. Brush for two minutes, and rinse with water thoroughly to remove excess food debris, toothpaste, and bacteria.
Mistake #7: Failing to floss
Brushing cannot reach everywhere in the mouth; floss is necessary for maintaining optimal oral health. After brushing, floss in between and around all teeth and along the gumline will significantly reduce your chances of developing gum disease and decay. Aim for flossing at least once daily for the best results.
South Meadows Dental: Your Partner In Oral Wellness
The talented and caring professionals at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics have your oral health as their ultimate goal. Using a combination of cutting edge dental technologies, an emphasis on patient-centered care, and a passion for dental health, we will work with you to design a comprehensive care plan that works for you. Contact us today for more information and to set up an appointment. A healthy and vibrant smile is just a click away!