6 Mistakes You make When Brushing Your Teeth
You’d think by the time we’re adults, we’d have our teeth brushing routine down to a tea. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Even the most proficient brusher can miss spots, use the wrong technique or rush at times. Simply brushing your teeth twice a day won’t keep bacteria and plaque at bay. The truth is that most of us will be making at least one of the following mistakes when brushing our teeth:
1. Rushing your brushing
Most dentists will recommend brushing for two minutes a day, twice a day. It figures that the longer you brush for, the more plaque you remove. And it’s not just a theory, there are many studies which prove it. However, two minutes is longer than you think, and, unless you’re timing yourself, chances are you’re cutting your brushing short. To help keep you brushing for longer, try using a timer or getting an electric toothbrush that buzzes at 30-second intervals to keep you on track.
2. Rinsing not spitting
It can feel remarkably normal to rinse your teeth after brushing. However, if you do, you’re washing away the concentrated fluoride that’s in the toothpaste. The fluoride contains the enamel-protecting properties that help to prevent decay. And, that goes for mouthwash too. While mouthwash contains fluoride and can prevent decay, using it directly after brushing is counter-intuitive. By rinsing you’re diluting your efforts. Try to just spit after brushing and save your rinsing for another time in the day.
3. Using the Wrong Toothpaste
There isn’t one brand of toothpaste that is miles better than all the others. However, there are plenty out there that just don’t cut it. When it comes to toothpaste, you need one that contains enough fluoride to help prevent decay. And your diet shouldn’t affect your ability to use a decent fluoride toothpaste. There are vegan alternatives and eco-friendly brands, meaning that you can stick to your principles and make sure your teeth are getting what they need too.
4. Using the Wrong Toothbrush
There is an ongoing debate about whether an electric or manual toothbrush is the best, and no doubt you’ve got your own opinion. It’s worth noting that an electric toothbrush makes it easier to properly clean those wisdom teeth at the back. Also, an electric toothbrush can help prevent you from applying too much pressure by flashing a light. However, the most important thing is the bristles on your brush. Soft or medium are best as they let you clean your teeth without causing damage. You’ll want a small to medium sized brush head too. That way you can focus on brushing each tooth individually rather than trying to brush them all together. And, finally, make sure you change your toothbrush every three months or so, otherwise you’ll be using less effective worn down bristles and your brush might start to harbour bacteria.
5. Brushing incorrectly
As well as using the right toothbrush and toothpaste, you need to know what to do with them. Brushing technique is really important. If you brush too hard, you can end up causing more harm than good. What might seem surprising is that as well as potentially leading to receding gums, brushing harder won’t actually make your teeth any cleaner. You need to brush each tooth gently and carefully. Brush at a slight angle and focus on one tooth at a time, using circular movements.
6. Getting Your Timing Wrong
If you’ve managed to get it right with all the other points, are you brushing at the right time? You don’t want to run for a toothbrush the moment after you eat acidic foods. Certain foods can remove the protective layer of saliva from your teeth and make brushing too abrasive. You’re better off to rinse your mouth and wait at least 30 minutes before you brush. And make sure your twice a day brushing is at the right time. First thing in the morning and before bed are standard, but the nighttime brush is the most important. Make sure you remove the day’s build up of food and bacteria before you get your head down.
If you’re making one or more of these mistakes, it’s not too late to make a change. And, if you’re not sure if you’ve got it quite right, then remember to ask your dentist. Not only can they give you general advice like this, but they can help you with specific brushing problems for your teeth. Whatever we do in life, we can always do better, and that certainly applies to teeth brushing. And, when it comes to dental care, prevention is always much better than cure.