As easy as it may seem to do, very few of us brush our teeth as well as we could. Thankfully, where there are mistakes, there are ways to fix them. Many dental problems come from not doing a simple task like brushing your teeth properly, so a simple guide of things you should avoid doing while brushing your teeth might come in handy to avoid an unnecessary visit to the dentist, or worse, toothache or gum disease.
Thousands of people make these mistakes, avoid these, and you will be alright:
Picking The Wrong Brush
How do you choose from the mind-melting selection of brushes at your local supermarket? Do you even consider how soft or hard it is? Do you go just by color? Make sure your brush can cover all the areas of your mouth. That’s everywhere you should be able to reach with a toothbrush. It can be a power toothbrush or a manual one. But there is one rule that isn’t negotiable.
The one thing that we insist upon is it has to have soft bristles. They need to be able to bend, to kind of get right under that gum. The size of the brush’s head is important, too, especially if you have a smaller mouth. Brushes also have various sizes of handles and different angles. Some are more flexible than others.
But the critical part, dentists agree, is the bristles that remove the bacteria and loosen plaque from your teeth and gums. That plaque can cause gum disease and lead to tooth decay. Sometimes people think that the harder the bristles are, the more they’ll clean. But that’s not necessarily true.
Soft bristles clean very effectively, more than the hard bristles. The hard bristles actually can wear down your tooth structure. Also, look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on your new brush, too.
Brushing Too Hard
When it comes to brushing, harder isn’t better. One of the biggest issues that people have is that they try to scrub their teeth too hard. They feel like if they don’t go to the teeth like they’re trying to clean the grout in their bathroom tile, that they’re not doing the right job.
Plaque is soft and loose, so you don’t have to scrub. The best way to fix this is to take away the mental issue of ‘scrub’ and ‘scrub brush’ and replace it with the word ‘massage.’
You Don’t Brush Enough
You should brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. But you’re late for school or work. Or you want to get to bed. Once in awhile, you need to cut that brushing short. Try to brush regularly; it takes just 2 minutes of your time.
You Don’t Change Your Toothbrush Regularly
When you find a good toothbrush, it’s sometimes hard to give it up. But when you see changes in the bristles, meaning when they become discolored, bent, or dirty looking, it’s time to throw it away.
It loses its powers when the bristles become frayed. So change it at least every 3 to 4 months. Also, it’s smart not to share your brush with anyone else. And keep it in the open air to keep mold or bacteria from growing on it when it’s wet.
You Go Back And Forth With Your Brush
It’s a common brushing mistake, going along your teeth, left to right. Again, think massage, not scrub. Start from the gum, and go up and down in little circular, up-and-down motions. If you keep brushing incorrectly, you might as well don’t do it at all. In fact, you can do damage to your teeth.
You Forget Your Gums
Bacteria often hang out where your tooth meets your gum. We miss that area a lot. We have about a millimeter of gum tissue where your tooth comes outside your gum, you want to kind of get under there, just about a millimeter, maybe 2 or 3 millimeters, right under the gum. So the bristle needs to be able to bend.
Brushing your teeth, it turns out, means brushing your whole tooth. Or at least everything you can get to with your brush. And that includes just under the gum. We spend more time on the chewing surface, and we don’t get down on the gum line. That’s one of the most common things we neglect.
You Have To Take Your Time
Brush at least twice a day, at least 2 minutes each time. Every day. Don’t let up. But maybe just as important is to make sure that at least one of those times is exceptional. That’s brushing, flossing, mouthwash, the whole bit.
As long as we go in and stir up the bacteria once every 24 hours, we can keep them less productive and less dangerous. The other daily stops — to get out the spinach between your teeth or to freshen up after that onion sandwich — are important, too. But once a day, a good thorough brushing-flossing-rinsing does wonders.