Brushing your teeth, a no brainer right? Wrong! Here are 5 of the commonest mistakes we are all probably making when brushing, putting our oral health at risk:
- Not Brushing Long Enough
The ADA recommends brushing for two minutes. Most of us probably think we are brushing our teeth long enough and might be surprised to learn they are falling significantly short. Different studies have shown that some people thought they had brushed for a couple of minutes, but it can actually be less than half a minute!
TIP: There are electric toothbrushes available that will beep when you’ve reached your two minutes or you can use a timer on your phone.
- You’re Brushing Too Hard
Brushing your teeth is not like scouring a dirty pan. The goal of brushing is to remove plaque, the bacterial film that can build up on teeth. This film is sticky but is actually quite soft, so it doesn’t take a lot of pressure to remove it. Pushing too hard can over stress the gum tissue and cause it to recede, exposing part of the tooth’s root. When the root is exposed the tooth becomes sensitive to hot and cold and more susceptible to cavities.
- Your Toothbrush Bristles Are Too Firm
Even though retailers offer toothbrushes with various degrees of firmness – soft, medium, or firm, – not all are good choices when it comes to protecting your oral health. Firm and medium bristles are often too harsh for your teeth and gums. Dr. Olson recommends using a soft or ultra-soft bristled toothbrush that have the ability to clean under the gum line gently.
- You’ve Had The Same Toothbrush Since Last Year
Does your toothbrush look like a shadow of it’s former self? Are it’s bristles bent, misshapen, and splayed out? At this point, your toothbrush is no longer able to do an effective job at cleaning your teeth and should definitely be replaced. In fact, Dr. Olson recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months.
- You Don’t Consider Flossing Mandatory
You’re not alone! A 2014 Delta Dental survey found that only 41% of Americans floss their teeth once a day and 20% never do. Toothbrushes are not able to remove all the plaque between teeth. Dental floss can reach those hidden spots between teeth and help you to be able to thoroughly clean your teeth.
TIP: Try using an electric flosser or a convenient dental pick which is just as effective flossing.
So, there you have it. How did you stack up when it comes to proper brushing? All of us can make improvements in our oral care routine and if we think of it as protecting a valuable possession, our one-of-kind smile, we will be motivated to do just that!