Brushing your teeth is a crucial part of good oral hygiene. However, brushing in the wrong way can actually do more harm than good to your teeth and gums. Here are 13 of the biggest mistakes that people make when brushing and how to avoid them.
13 mistakes people make when brushing their teeth
- Brushing too hard: Correct brushing technique is essential for proper oral hygiene. Brush your teeth in a gentle, circular, massaging motion, up and down. Do not brush too vigorously or scrub harshly as this can cause harm to your gums. Keep your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth so that the bristles point toward where your gums and teeth meet.
- Using the wrong type of toothbrush: Choose a toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush can lead to enamel loss or gum tissue damage. Make sure that the head of the toothbrush is a suitable size so that you can reach your back teeth (molars).
- Brushing too often or not often enough: Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. Brushing your teeth once a day is not enough, and three or more times a day is too much.
- Not brushing all surfaces of your teeth: It can be easy to focus mostly on the front of your teeth and forget about the inner surfaces. Make sure to brush thoroughly so that you don’t miss any teeth or any surfaces of a tooth.
- Using the same brushing pattern: Brushing your teeth in the same pattern means you may be missing some spots on your teeth. Change up your brushing pattern to make sure you are cleaning your teeth properly.
- Not cleaning your tongue: Your tongue occupies a large surface area of your oral cavity and is important to your overall oral health. After brushing your teeth, brush your tongue in order to clear away bacteria that has accumulated there and to keep your breath fresh.
- Not brushing long enough: You should be brushing your teeth for about 2-3 minutes at a time. While it may seem like a long time, that is the amount of time it takes to properly clean your teeth and get rid of bacteria in your mouth.
- Not changing out old toothbrushes: You should replace old toothbrushes once every 3-4 months. Using the same toothbrush for too long is unhygienic and ineffective.
- Forgetting to floss: Food particles and debris often get stuck between your teeth, and simply brushing will not clean everything out. Make it a habit to floss at least once a day.
- Not using the right type of toothpaste: Use toothpastes that contain fluoride. For adults and children older than 3, fluoride levels should be 1,350 to 1,500 ppm (parts per million). For children up to 3 years of age, use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1,000 ppm.
- Rinsing too much after brushing: Avoid rinsing your mouth too much after brushing, since this washes away the fluoride present in your toothpaste.
- Brushing right after eating: Wait at least 1 hour after eating or drinking before you brush your teeth. This is especially true after consuming something acidic, since brushing too soon can cause you to brush away softened enamel.
- Not storing your toothbrush properly: Storing a wet toothbrush in a closed case can cause bacterial growth. Keep your toothbrush upright and let it air dry before storing it in a case.
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