Brushing Your Teeth: 6 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

You may know already that brushing your teeth at least twice a day is recommended by most dentists, including our own, but are you sure you’re doing it correctly?

Children brushing their teeth before going to bed in Asheville

We know that it doesn’t feel good to hear that you may be doing something wrong, but correcting these six common brushing mistakes are super easy! Follow our recommendations and you will be on your way to even better oral health.

Keep reading to find out if you’re guilty of one of these common teeth brushing faux pas.

1) Brushing Too Hard

This one has to be the most common mistake, and we understand why people are tempted to make it. Because of the shape of teeth, food can be hard to get to with just a toothbrush, which is why flossing as well as brushing is a great idea.

The one thing that won’t help you remove excess debris is brushing your teeth really hard. Watch your face in the mirror while you brush; is it fixed in an expression of anger or intensity? If so, you’re probably going a bit too hard and may cause harm or permanent damage to your gums. Easy does it when it comes to brushing.

2) Rushing Your Brushing

Most of us know that you’re supposed to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, but how many of us actually take that to heart? It can be easy to fall into the trap of rushing through your oral health routine, which can negatively affect the health of your mouth in the long term.

Some dental specialists have a solution: use your phone to set an alarm that will ensure you brush for the right amount of time, or have fun with it and put on a song while you brush. Most songs these days, especially pop songs, last for about two to three minutes, which gives you a perfect window of time to attend to your teeth.

3) Using the Wrong Type of Toothbrush

Toothbrushes with super hard bristles won’t help you reach the hard to get plaque, but they can hurt your gums. Soft or extra soft bristle toothbrushes are actually recommended, as they will be forgiving to your gums and offer the flexibility needed to reach more places. All bristles should be doing is dislodging food that’s stuck in your teeth. Using super hard bristles with force may remove protective enamel, leaving your teeth exposed and sensitive.

4) Using an Old Brush

Just as bad as using a brush with extra hard bristles is using a brush that’s past its prime. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months. To better remember, consider changing your toothbrush with the season.

Keep your toothbrush in a place that gets plenty of air so that it dries in between uses. A brush that’s bent, frayed or discolored is no longer a brush that should be used. If this is happening before the three month mark, it could be a sign that you’re using too much force when you brush your teeth.

5) Rinsing Your Mouth with Water After

It’s very normal and tempting to rinse your mouth with water after you brush but doing so totally negates the fluoride in your toothpaste. (Additional tip: you should be using a toothpaste with fluoride, if you’re not already.) Instead of reaching for the tap after you brush, rinse with a mouthwash that also has fluoride in it. Be sure not to drink any water or other beverages for at least a half hour after you’ve brushed. This will allow the fluoride to coat your teeth and better protect them.

6) Brushing Side to Side

Most of us grow up brushing our teeth from one side to another in a horizontal motion, but that is not the best way to care for your teeth. Instead, try brushing in small, circular motions. It’s more beneficial to your mouth to use strokes that roll up and down, and it’s important to remember to hit the tongue side of teeth as well. Think of brushing as a massage for the teeth and do your best to reach every nook and cranny.

Brushing may not be the most exciting part of a person’s day, but it’s really important to know how to do it well. If you avoid the above mistakes, your teeth should be in great shape for years to come. Don’t forget to visit your dentist every six months or so to get a check up. If you are in the Asheville area and looking for a qualified, caring family dentistry practice, contact us or schedule an appointment.

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