We all know how important it is to have good oral hygiene-- so why are so many of us guilty of bad brushing habits? From a young age we’re taught to brush our teeth, use floss, and rise with mouthwash. But somewhere we forget our training and start to slack off on good oral maintenance-- that sometimes leads to some very bad circumstances. Bleeding gums and tooth loss are some very serious issues-- but they can be prevented with a little more effort on our part to take care of our mouth. We thought it would be helpful to have an article that points out some of the brushing habits that may be doing more harm than good to your teeth.
Make sure your brushing habits include keeping a Brushee close at hand. It’s a great way to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It’s a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss-- all in one convenient package!
Brushing too hard
We sometimes think that by putting a little elbow grease into brushing, we’re really getting our teeth and gums clean. The truth is actually the opposite-- never brush your teeth and especially your gums hard. This only damages sensitive gums and can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your teeth. Putting too much pressure on your mouth can also lead to scratches-- which are not only uncomfortable-- they can run the risk of becoming infected.
Plaque and food debris are easy to remove, and do not require extensive or hard strokes to clean them. It is also recommended to use a soft bristled toothbrush instead of one that has stiff bristles. Keep your stroke gentle and allow the bristles to do the work-- your teeth and gums will thank you.
Sharing your toothbrush
This might seem like a no-brainer to most people, but it is highly recommend that you never share your toothbrush with anyone-- and that includes your significant other as well. Using someone else’s brush can introduce new germs to your body. Toothbrushes can harbor all kinds of nasty infections, including pneumonia and HPV.
It can also harbor the bacteria that can cause cavities-- streptococcus mutans-- so if your significant other has a cavity, you could be affected and not even realize it. Keep your toothbrushes separate and opt to get a matching set instead.
Brushing too quickly
Sometimes brushing our teeth can seem like a boring chore-- one we just have to get through. For most people, this means brushing their teeth for only around 45 seconds. The recommended amount of time is two minutes of good brushing. This ensures that all your teeth are reached, your gums are taken care of, and you’ve cleaned off your tongue. That’s not going to happen in a quick 45 seconds.
Two minutes is also a good time to analyze your brushing technique. Look in the mirror as you do this and make sure your brush is at a 45 degree angle to the surface of the tooth. Then move in circles over a small area of teeth. Make sure you get all sides of the teeth, including the front and the back. Brush away from the gum line at the end to get rid of any losened plaque and food.
Slow down and concentrate on counting two minutes through in your head. If it helps, put a song on and don’t stop brushing until the song ends. They’ve invented musical toothbrushes for kids, now it’s time they did so for adults!
Brushing too soon after a meal
You might think it’s a good idea to brush right after a meal-- after all this will prevent food debris from settling and causing problems. Brushing after a meal is a good idea, however, it’s best to wait 15-20 minutes after you finish a meal to brush your teeth. This is because acidic food particles can linger in our mouths after-- and when we brush-- can allow them to get into the more sensitive parts of our teeth. Over time this can cause irritation and tooth pain.
By waiting a little bit after each meal, you can save yourself from problems in the future. Instead, try washing your mouth out with some water if you still have some food particles stuck, and save the brushing for after that.
You neglect your gums and tongue
We get so wrapped up in making sure our pearly whites are cared for we sometimes forget about our gums and tongue. Normal brushing of our teeth does not reach all the parts of the gums that require a cleaning. Make sure you lightly take your brush over the front and back of your gums with your soft bristled brush.
This ensures you’re not brushing too hard-- which can cause gums to flare up and possibly become red from scrubbing. It’s also a good idea to use a mouthwash to get into all the cracks and crevices of your mouth. Use a good alcohol-free one like Crest Pro Health or Listerine Zero Clean.
At the end of your brushing session, don’t forget to take a sweep of your tongue. This gets rid of any lingering bacteria and can keep your breath fresher. It’s easy to forget to do, but a good step to keep the harmful bacteria out of your mouth.
Never changing routine
If you have a certain way that you brush your teeth, that’s good-- but only for those teeth. Try switching up how your brush your teeth a couple of times of week. This will help you reach those places in your mouth that might not always get a full brushing. Maybe try starting in a different location, or using your other hand. This will change up the way you maneuver the brush-- and will get some of those places where the plaque may have had a chance to build up a little more.
This is also a good way to ensure you’re brushing for the full two minutes. If you’re thinking about your brushing routine, chances are it’s going to take you longer. Take advantage of this and brush in a different way in the morning and at night before bed.
Using the wrong toothbrush
Because all of our mouths are different, it makes sense that toothbrushes are not a one size fits all item. There are all kinds of brushes to choose from-- some are manual, some electric, some with round heads, and some with oval. Find what works well for you and feels comfortable in your mouth. If you don’t know where to start, just ask your dentist.
Once your find a good toothbrush, make sure you treat it right. This means keeping it for only three months-- get rid of it sooner if it looks damaged-- as over time bacteria builds up on it. Make sure you wash it in hot water after each brush and store it upright to dry.
Bad flossing habits
Most people are guilty of not flossing daily-- or using the correct technique. This is an extremely important part of your daily oral maintenance-- and can be the difference between developing gum problems and possible tooth loss. Cavities tend to form in the spaces between our teeth, so it is extremely important that you have a good flossing routine.
Get a good floss like the Oral B Glide Pro Health slowly wrap it around each tooth and move it up and down to loosen any food or plaque build up. Doing this consistently will reduce your chances of cavities and tooth decay and keep plaque at bay.
After reviewing our list, make sure you avoid any of these bad brushing habits. Changing up your ways now will help you prevent gum disease and tooth loss in the future. You want to make sure you care for your teeth in the best way possible-- when you do, they’ll last you a lifetime!