You know it … that brushing your teeth is incredibly important and crucial to great dental health. Gee, we’ve all been doing it for as long as we can remember, right?
It’s something we just do, but may not give much thought to. It’s almost like auto pilot.
However, an incorrect technique can have big consequences when it comes to tooth brushing, and bad habits can be very easy to make and very difficult to break.
Here are the most common mistakes made when brushing teeth at home, and which dentists and oral health therapists aim to educate patients about when they go for their regular check-up and clean…
Are you making one of these 8 mistakes?
- Using the wrong toothbrush: Your toothbrush needs to be replaced every three months. If the bristles are frayed, broken, inflexible or worn out, they won’t do a good job. They will also hold bacteria and food particles (yuck!). Choose a toothbrush (preferably electric with a small round head) that has bristles that are soft or extra soft – hard bristles can damage your teeth and gums. Don’t brush too hard!
- Brushing too often or not enough: You should be brushing twice a day, every day. Brushing more often than this can erode enamel and damage gums. Less than this, and plaque, tartar and bacteria can settle on and between teeth. Wait for at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking acidic beverages (such as wine or soft or sports drinks) to brush your teeth to brush teeth and wait half an hour after brushing to eat or drink.
- Brushing incorrectly: Brush your teeth in a circular motion, contacting both the teeth and gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle of 45 degrees away from the gums and brush every tooth in your mouth. Be careful not to press too hard as this can cause excessive abrasion and wear to the enamel.
- Not brushing for long enough: You need to be brushing for two minutes every time you brush. This allows the fluoride in the toothpaste to attach to your tooth enamel. Use a timer!
- Not brushing the inner tooth surfaces: Don’t just focus on the outer surface of the teeth – the inner surfaces need cleaning just as much. By that, we mean the parts of the teeth and gums on the tongue or palate side where people don’t generally see.
- Not brushing your tongue and inner cheeks: The ripples on the back of your toothbrush aren’t there for decoration. They are there to clean your tongue and inner cheeks, to remove bacteria, and prevent bad breath. You need to do this every time you brush.
- Storing your toothbrush in the open in your bathroom: If your toilet is located in your bathroom, don’t store your toothbrush on the vanity. Bacteria from the toilet bowl is sprayed around the room if you flush with the lid up.
HOT TIP: Instead, store your toothbrush away in your medicine cabinet, or enclosed under the vanity, covered or in a case.
And the biggest mistake people make…
- Failure to clean between the teeth: No matter how great your technique, brushing alone can’t adequately clean between teeth. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque and food from between the teeth to avoid calcified deposit build-up. In addition to flossing, there are special toothbrushes that clean between the teeth where statistically more problems occur. If you aren’t cleaning between your teeth with floss or special interdental brushes, it’s just like washing only half the plate after a meal – it’s still dirty!
Pay closer attention to your toothbrush and your brushing technique. And don’t forget to visit your local dentist and oral health therapist for regular professional cleaning for a fresh, healthy mouth.
To schedule an appointment with Myer Street Dental Clinic in Geelong, call (03) 5222 4599 for the very best in dental care today.