Poor dental hygiene can negatively impact your health. That’s why you should always take time to brush your teeth at least two times a day.
However, brushing isn’t the end of the story. You could still end up with oral problems if you’re brushing your teeth too hard or committing other common bad brushing habits.
To help you out, we’ve listed down 7 of the most common mistakes people make when brushing. Check if you make any of these mistakes and learn how to correct yourself right here:
1. Not Brushing Long Enough
Quickly, can you tell how long you’re supposed to brush your teeth? According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth for 2 minutes. Doing this guarantees you scrub away all plaque and food bits.
Unfortunately, our perception of time isn’t accurate. Most people feel like they’ve been brushing for a long period when it’s only been a few seconds or so.
To avoid this issue, use a timer. You can set a quick alarm each time you toothbrush or buy a toothbrush that beeps once you’ve reached 2 minutes.
2. Using the Wrong Toothbrush
Speaking of buying a toothbrush, do you have the right one? For most people, the recommended type of toothbrush has a medium to small head, soft to ultra-soft bristles, and more than 6 inches long.
Avoid getting firm or medium bristles. They’re too rough and rigid and won’t get under your gums. They can also damage your gums too, especially if you have a heavy hand and you’ll need professional periodontics aid to get them back in shape.
Why a smaller brush head? The smaller your toothbrush head is, the more comfortable it is. It’s also easier to reach difficult spots at the back of your mouth with a smaller brush head.
3. The Wrong Angle and Motion
A common mistake is brushing at the wrong angle. You should brush at a 45-degree angle. Angle it upwards when brushing the upper row and then angle it downwards when brushing the lower row of teeth.
Why is this important?
Brushing at an angle ensures the bristles get under the gums and can sweep away plaque and food. If you’re brushing at a straight angle, you’re hitting the same spots at the front of your teeth and you won’t reach the hidden areas in your gums.
How’s your brushing motion? Instead of going back and forth like you’re playing the violin, brush in circular motions like you’re making small O’s. This helps the bristles squeeze into the tiny spaces between your teeth and gums to remove food bits.
The only exception is when you’re using a sonic toothbrush. These work automatically so all you have to do is hold the brush and keep it stable. Simply keep the brush in place and let it do the job.
4. Avoiding Your Tongue
Suffering from halitosis aka bad breath? Your brushing habit might be the culprit. If you don’t brush your tongue, you’re letting bacteria build up and this causes the foul odor in your breath.
You have two main options to clean your tongue while brushing. First, you can rely on the tongue cleaner often found on the opposite side of the brush head. Simply scrub your tongue with this to clean out your tongue.
The better option, however, is to buy a tongue scraper. These can achieve much better results and they’re not expensive either.
Don’t stop here! You can also benefit from using a good mouthwash. These eradicate any leftover bacteria.
5. Not Changing Your Toothbrush
How old is your toothbrush? How long have you been using the same one?
The common recommendation is to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. This is how long it often takes for the bristles to get too soft. Their angles also get skewed, which means they no longer reach the areas under and around your gums no matter what you do.
Make it a habit to change your toothbrush often. You should have a spare in case you need to change your toothbrush and can’t immediately go out to buy one.
6. Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
Yes, brushing your teeth too hard can ruin your teeth and gums. Some people assume they have to put a lot of pressure to scrub off all the remaining debris and food but this isn’t true.
Brushing too hard can harm your gums. They can swell from the pain or even recede. The latter is worse because receding gums expose the roots of your teeth.
When the root gets exposed, your tooth becomes more susceptible to cavities and pain. You might feel sharp pangs of pain when drinking or eating something hot or really cold.
Don’t brush your teeth too hard. If you want whiter teeth, brush regularly with moderate pressure and always seek a dentist for professional whitening and cleaning.
7. Brushing Right After Eating
Many people brush their teeth right after eating, hoping this can immediately remove all the food and keep their breath fresh. However, you shouldn’t do this because it can damage your teeth.
While eating, your saliva produces more acid so it can break down food and make it easier to chew and digest. If you brush your teeth with this high acid-content still in your mouth, you’ll damage the enamel of your teeth. It’s better to wait a good 60 minutes or so before brushing.
You can drink a glass of water or chew on sugar-free gum while waiting. This can help slosh down remaining food bits and freshen your breath a bit until you can brush, floss, and use mouthwash.
Avoid These Common Brushing Mistakes!
Are you guilty of these common brushing mistakes? It’s okay to admit to some of these, like brushing your teeth too hard or using the wrong toothbrush. Even with the Internet and dental education, a lot of people still don’t get the dental knowledge or training needed for proper oral care.
But don’t worry. If you need professional help in Chattanooga, TN, you can always contact us right here. We can restore your teeth and help you with proper oral hygiene tips.