Brushing your teeth might seem like a simple task that we do twice a day as part of our everyday routines. But what if we told you that there could be some mistakes that you are making along the way? Some of the things we do wrong when it comes to our dental hygiene routine could be detrimental to our oral health. With that in mind, here are 8 mistakes that you could be making when brushing your teeth:
1. Keeping your toothbrush for too long
Like anything, your toothbrush will experience wear over time, especially with continual use. We are supposed to be brushing our teeth at least twice a day, which puts some strain into our toothbrush. That is why it is recommended that we change our toothbrush, or our toothbrush heads if you have an electric toothbrush, every 3 to 4 months.
Not only is this because the bristles will have lost some of their functionality, but it is also for hygiene reasons. Toothbrush heads can contain bacteria that will, instead of protecting our teeth, actually cause gum disease and other issues. Essentially, the longer you use the toothbrush, the more overrun with bacteria it will become, according to Dr Dena.
2. Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing
Where this might seem like the next logical step after brushing your teeth, it is actually doing more harm than good. Toothpaste has a wealth of antibacterial properties in it, including fluoride, that works to battle bacteria to keep decay and gum disease at bay. If you’re using water after brushing, you’re washing that residue away almost immediately.
This is why it is always better to brush your teeth after you have had your breakfast. It gives the toothpaste enough time to sit in your mouth, undisturbed, for at least a couple of hours. This is most beneficial at night. This allows the toothpaste between 6 and 8 hours a day to protect your mouth, keeping it clean even while you are sleeping.
3. Not storing your toothbrush correctly
Make sure that you are storing your toothbrush somewhere that is not exposed to the elements, such as in a cupboard or a case. However, it is imperative that it is left to air-dry completely before storing it. It also needs to be stood upright rather than lying face down. This enables all of the moisture to drip from the bristles, rather than be left to sit deep within the brush head. Correct storage is paramount for both elongating the lifespan of your toothbrush and ensuring it is hygienic to use at all times.
4. Neglecting to floss your teeth in addition to brushing them
People think that brushing twice a day is enough to keep bacteria away. But you would be mistaken. It is paramount that you are flossing in between your teeth as well as brushing them twice a day. Much like brushing your teeth, flossing should be done twice daily. Brushing alone is not enough to get to those hard-to-reach areas. As such, you might find that some food residue is left behind, even after vigorous brushing. Flossing is the only way to get those food particles out, so do not leave it out of your dental hygiene.
5. Brushing too hard
You might not think that brushing your teeth too hard would be cause for concern. However, it can be doing more harm than good. This is because brushing too hard is considered to be abrasive on your teeth. As such, it could cause gum recession, soreness in the gums and wear of the enamel. It is just as important to ensure the integrity of the tooth and the surrounding parts of your mouth, including the gums and tongue, as well as the teeth themselves.
6. Forgetting to brush your tongue
Brushing your tongue is just as important as making sure you are brushing your teeth. This is because, much like your teeth, the tongue can harbour bacteria. As we move our tongues to eat and talk, it ends up touching our teeth, thus transferring bacteria onto them. Keep your tongue clean to avoid contaminating your newly-cleaned teeth. This is something that your dental hygienist will be able to give you some advice on.
7. Failing to reach every area of your mouth
It is possible to miss certain parts of your mouth when brushing your teeth. This is the case regardless of how many times a day you brush or for how long. Wisdom teeth are notoriously difficult to reach, causing decay and break down over time.
In some cases, you may have to undergo tooth extraction if it is beyond repair, or if it causing discomfort. You need to be conscious of the areas of your mouth that you might not be reaching. Common areas include the wisdom teeth and even the back of the tongue. You should take care when brushing these hard-to-reach areas so as to protect your gums, your tongue, the rest of your teeth and the flesh inside of your mouth.
8. Using your toothbrush too often, or not regularly enough
You might think that brushing your teeth too regularly would have a positive impact on your oral health, but you would actually be mistaken. Brushing your teeth too much can be abrasive to your enamel, thus wearing it off prematurely. It is only recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day.
On the contrary, brushing your teeth once a day will not be enough. This still will only allow access to harmful bacteria, meaning that you are more likely to suffer with tooth decay and even gum disease. Brushing too often is not recommended and nor is brushing your teeth only once daily. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day to ensure good dental hygiene.
Quorn Dental Practice and Implant Clinic is able to offer patients an array of professional dental treatments, carried out by our highly-qualified, professional team of dentists and dental specialists. From cosmetic dental treatments and specialised care to emergency appointments and root canals, you’ll be in excellent hands with Quorn Dental Practice and Implant Clinic. If you would like further information about the dental treatments we have available, get in touch with a member of our knowledgeable, friendly team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.