Brushing your teeth is hopefully such a regular part of your daily routine that you don’t even think too much about it. Unfortunately, if you don’t think about what you’re doing as you brush your teeth, then there’s a good chance that you’re making a number of mistakes, which could lead to oral health issues. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at 10 common mistakes that people make when brushing their teeth.
At New Day Smile in La Mesa, we want to help you take the best possible care of your teeth so that they serve you for your whole life. Sometimes, due to accidents, disease, or genetics, your teeth might still have problems that need to be addressed through cosmetic dentistry. Contact our office today to learn some of the cosmetic dental procedures with which we can assist you.
1. Keeping Your Toothbrush Too Long
There are certain things in life that make it easy for us to see when it’s time to purchase a replacement. For example, your clothes might become thin or develop rips and tears, and the soles of your shoes wear thin over time as well. When it comes to your toothbrush, however, you might not always know just when it’s time for you to purchase a replacement.
It’s best to replace your toothbrush about every three to four months. If you’ve been ill, then it would be wise to purchase a new one even sooner so that you are not continuing to expose yourself to those germs. Bristles that are worn, frayed, or discolored are all indications that it’s time for a new brush. If your toothbrush has bristles that are worn or bent, they won’t be able to clean your teeth as thoroughly as new bristles. You can set a reminder on your phone or write one on your wall calendar.
2. Brushing Too Quickly
It’s important to take time to brush your teeth thoroughly so that you get the full benefit of this routine. If you are done in 30 seconds or less, then you really need to consider what steps might help you to brush for a longer amount of time. Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. While two minutes is not a long time, it can certainly feel that way if you’re late getting out the door in the morning, overly tired and ready for bed, or discombobulated because your alarm didn’t wake you up at your normal time.
While you can set a timer for two minutes, it’s likely that you have a cell phone with you most of the time. Put on one of your favorite songs, and brush your teeth for the duration of the song. Most songs are approximately two to three minutes long, which means that you will have brushed your teeth for an appropriate amount of time and enjoyed a good song to boot!
3. Brushing Too Hard
There are many things in life where doing something with more effort is better — teeth brushing is not one of those. In fact, the harder you are on your teeth and gums, the more damage you can cause. Brushing your teeth as hard as you would scrub your bathroom tiles is one of the worst things you can do.
If you struggle with brushing your teeth too hard because you were told to scrub your teeth as a child, then try changing the phrase to “massage” your teeth. Hopefully this will create a better mental picture of what you should be doing when you brush your teeth.
4. Brushing Right After Eating
Brushing your teeth right after a meal can be tempting, especially if your meal included onion, garlic, or another food with a strong odor. It’s best to resist this temptation as it can cause greater damage to the enamel on your teeth.
Part of the digestive process is the release of acids into your mouth, which begin breaking down the food. If you were to run to the bathroom and begin brushing, you would essentially be brushing the acid into your teeth and helping it to erode the enamel. Wait about 15 to 20 minutes before heading to brush your teeth. This length of time should allow the saliva to do it’s work of washing away the acid so that you aren’t harming your teeth.
Pro Tip — If you’re on a date and you need to freshen your breath as quickly as possible, then try rinsing your mouth with some water before brushing your teeth.
5. Improper Brush Storage
Most people tend to store their toothbrush in one of a variety of toothbrush holders that you can find in many stores. From wall mounted holders to stand-alone holders, you can find one that fits with almost any theme or color you may have in your bathroom. The problem with storing your toothbrush in this way leaves it susceptible to being speckled with fecal matter. A study showed that more than half of the toothbrushes found in households had bits of human feces on them.
We’ll share how this happens so that you can make any necessary changes. When you flush your toilet, the contents are sprayed in all directions. Putting the lid down is important to do before flushing. Additionally, you want to make sure to protect the bristles on your toothbrush in order to help reduce this issue. You can do this by simply storing it in the medicine cabinet, placing it on your nightstand, or purchasing a cap for your toothbrush.
6. Choosing the Wrong Brush Bristles
This is one mistake that is very easy to make! Walk into the toothbrush aisle of any store and there is an almost mind-melting number of toothbrush options. From manual to electric and full head to curved head, there are so many different available options. The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s best to choose a toothbrush that you feel comfortable using. The only thing that truly matters is that you choose one with soft bristles. Since many people are prone to brush harder than they should, it’s important that the stiffness of the bristles does not further damage your teeth and gums.
7. Improper Brushing Technique
Hopefully you know that the wrong way to brush your teeth is using a back-and-forth motion. Circular motions are the correct technique because they are more gentle and effective at cleaning the gaps between your teeth and at the gum line. Use a lighter touch and tilt your brush vertically behind your front and bottom teeth for the best results.
8. Rinsing With Water
This one may be a surprise to most people, because you were probably taught to rinse your mouth out after you finished brushing your teeth. This is a mistake. You should definitely spit out the toothpaste when you’re done, but rinsing with water actually impacts the ability of the fluoride to work as efficiently as possible.
Since it probably wouldn’t feel right not to rinse your mouth out at all, try rinsing with a mouthwash or mouth rinse that contains fluoride so that you can get that clean feeling, but don’t undermine the full cleaning effect of your toothpaste.
9. Forgetting to Clean Your Tongue
This mistake is an easy one to make because the tool you’re using is called a toothbrush — not a tongue brush.You can either purchase a tongue scraper, or you can simply use the bristles on your toothbrush. This extra step will help to remove bacteria that tends to hang around on your tongue so that you can enjoy a cleaner mouth and fresher breath.
10. Brushing Too Much
Many people wonder if they can brush too much or over-brush their teeth. The answer to both of these questions is yes. Too much of anything can be bad, which is why it’s a good idea to brush your teeth just twice a day. If you have a meal that is exceptionally sticky or sugary, then you might want to brush an extra time to help remove some of these cavity-causing agents. Additionally, you should make an effort to brush well for the two minutes that you are brushing your teeth so that they are getting a quality cleaning, rather than brushing more frequently.
We hope that the information we shared today has helped you to identify any mistakes you might be making in your own teeth brushing routine. Be sure to call us at New Day Smile in La Mesa to schedule your annual checkup, and let us know if you have concerns that might be better addressed through one of our cosmetic dentistry procedures. Schedule your appointment today.