4 Mistakes Most Make When Brushing Teeth

In addition to finding the right dental plan, the most common method of maintaining oral health is brushing. You may brush your teeth daily, but are you brushing them properly?

This question is essential because your mouth is full of bacteria. Bacteria can cause damage to your teeth and gum tissues if left uncontrolled. Bacteria causes bad breath and in severe cases may lead to oral illnesses. When bacteria meet the sugars in the foods you eat, the substances combine and create acids. These acids erode tooth enamel over time.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you must brush your teeth twice per day to maintain your oral health, but you must use the proper brushing techniques. It is easy to forget to brush properly, or you may be unaware of what the proper toothbrushing techniques are. Below are the four most common mistakes to avoid improving your oral health.

1.   Not Brushing Teeth Long Enough or Brushing at the Wrong Times

It is a common mistake to brush your teeth whenever you have a few spare seconds. Doing so is better than not brushing your teeth at all, but it may not be the most effective time to brush your teeth. The time of day you brush and length of time you spend brushing are both important for your oral health. For many years, the standard recommended toothbrushing duration by the ADA has been two minutes.

Related Article: How Dental Insurance Works

Although, some other experts recommend you brush your teeth for at least three minutes per session. To make sure you brush your teeth long enough, consider one of the following options:

  • Keep a clock in your bathroom.
  • Use a timer.
  • Set an alarm on your cellular phone.
  • Purchase a power toothbrush with an audible alarm to indicate when time is up.
  • Brush your teeth while listening to a favorite song lasting for at least two minutes.

When considering when to brush your teeth, resist the urge to brush them right after you eat, especially if you eat acidic foods. Acids are abrasive. Scrubbing them into your teeth with your toothbrush damages your tooth enamel. Your saliva acts as a natural rinse. If you give your saliva enough time, then it can naturally remove these harmful acids. Typically, the acids are mostly removed after 15 to 20 minutes, allowing you to brush your teeth safely.

2.   Selecting the Wrong Toothbrush

Selecting the wrong toothbrush can make proper brushing more difficult. For example, when you use a toothbrush with hard bristles, you may think you can scrub plaque and tartar more efficiently. The hard bristles can harm your tooth enamel, especially if you apply a lot of force while brushing.

It is important to use a brush with soft bristles and apply it with gentle pressure using a more massage-like action. Food debris on your teeth is usually soft unless left on for long periods to harden, so only a light touch is required to remove it. Additionally, soft, flexible bristles can access difficult areas, such as your gumline, easier than hard bristles.

When selecting a toothbrush, you must find one you are comfortable using. You can choose a power or manual toothbrush. The important factor is how well you can use the brush you choose. When you use the toothbrush, you must be able to access all areas of your mouth with it and hold it securely. Therefore, you must consider factors like:

  • Handle
  • Brush head size.
  • Handle
  • Ability to grip the handle easily.

Did you know? There are types of toothpaste that are specially made for certain oral health situations. For instance, if you are trying to quit smoking or cutting back, then you may consider a paste design to handle tobacco stains.

3.   Only Brushing Obvious or Visible Areas

Only brushing obvious or visible areas is one of the most common and hazardous toothbrushing mistakes. When you smile, only certain teeth are visible. Remember to brush your back teeth as well.

Additionally, you may be tempted to only brush the front of each tooth since this is the only side you can see. You must brush the back of each tooth to ensure you are maintaining your oral health effectively. Otherwise, bacteria builds up behind them and cause gum infections or other health hazards. Debris can accumulate behind your teeth and turn into a hard material called calculus, more commonly known as tartar.

Focusing on brushing where your teeth meet your gums is important. When you use a toothbrush with flexible bristles, they can get in between the tooth and the gum. By brushing approximately a millimeter below the visible gumline, you can remove invisible debris to keep it from festering and creating infections. To brush your gumline effectively, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle in relation to your gumline while brushing along the area.

Another area to focus on when brushing your teeth is your tongue. Your tongue holds many of the same bacteria normally found on your teeth. Those bacteria can form a film on your tongue called a biofilm, which cannot easily be penetrated by mouthwash or rinsing with water alone. Brushing it frequently minimizes the presence of those bacteria.

4.   Using the Wrong Tooth Brushing Motions or General Technique

You must be careful to use proper motions when brushing your teeth. If your technique is flawed, then your oral health suffers. A standard mistake is to brush your teeth using a sideways motion. When you move your brush across your teeth from side to side, you can damage the enamel.

This is because each tooth is made up of rod-like structures pointing toward the surface. Brushing in a sideways motion is like using a saw to cut a tree. Additionally, using a sideways brushing technique may cause you to miss essential areas like your back teeth or gumline.

To brush your teeth properly, use up and down, somewhat circular motions. Brush gently to avoid damaging your enamel. Start on one side of your mouth, focusing on a few teeth. Then slowly move around to the other side. When you finish one row, repeat the process on the other row. Then use vertical motions to brush the back side of each tooth. Complete the process by brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper.

Related Article: Dental Insurance vs. Dental Savings Plans

It might also interest you: