7 mistakes to avoid when brushing your teeth
Brushing your teeth twice per day is great, but unless you’re brushing correctly, it will not guarantee that you are removing bacteria and plaque build up. Here are 7 common tooth brushing mistakes and how to avoid them!
- Not brushing long enough
Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. Lots of people spend less than 30 seconds brushing their teeth on each occasion, which is less than half the recommended time! To ensure that you are brushing for long enough, use the timer on your phone, a clock or a small hourglass – or sing a song to yourself which you know lasts two minutes.
- Rinsing out after brushing
“Spit don’t rinse” when brushing your teeth. If you rinse your mouth out with water or mouth wash after brushing you will wash away the fluoride and enamel protecting properties of the toothpaste.
- Using the wrong toothpaste
There are a lot of different types of toothpaste available to buy. Whilst there is no perfect paste for every person, what you should look for is that your toothpaste contains fluoride in an adequate amount as it helps to prevent tooth decay. For adults, your toothpaste should contain 1350 to 1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride. If you’re not sure, speak to your dentist.
- Brushing at inappropriate times
You should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating acidic foods or drinks to allow the protective layer of saliva to recover. If you want to get rid of an unpleasant taste, you can rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash. However, even worse is not brushing your teeth at all. Cleaning your teeth at night time is the most important as it will remove the deposits which have built up from eating and drinking during the day. The night time clean will also help to remove bacteria which cause tooth decay and gum disease.
- Brushing too hard
If you put too much pressure on your teeth when brushing, you run the risk of wearing out your teeth and potentially harming your gums. Electric toothbrushes can help to ensure that you do not brush too hard. Ask your dental hygienist to show you how to brush your teeth in the best way possible so that you can keep your teeth healthy and strong for as long as possible.
- Using the wrong toothbrush
There is an ongoing debate as to whether a manual or electric toothbrush is best. But what is good about an electric toothbrush is that it can help you to reach the back of your mouth without too much trouble. Electric toothbrushes can also give you an alert if you are brushing too hard, or if you are not brushing for long enough. Whichever brush you go for, make sure it has soft or medium bristles rather than hard so that you can clean your teeth gently without causing harm.
- Not flossing or failing to floss all your teeth
Although it can be tricky to reach all your teeth, it is important that you floss in between all your teeth so that you remove the fine plaque and biofilm that builds up between teeth and gums. To help you floss better, use interdental brushes which can clean the sides of your teeth – an area that floss and toothbrushing can miss.
We can all make mistakes when brushing our teeth but being aware of them can help us to keep our teeth healthy and strong. It is important that we brush our teeth twice per day for at least 2 minutes, using an appropriate toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you have any concerns or questions, you should seek personalised oral hygiene advice from your dental hygienist, who will also be able to demonstrate techniques to help you keep your teeth healthy and strong when at home.