Toothbrushing Mistakes | Manhattan Dental Office
We all know how important it is to take good care of our oral health. After all, we learn to brush our teeth about the same time that we learn to walk. But because it’s a skill so basic and routine, toothbrushing often gets performed on autopilot. Have you ever stopped to think about whether you’re actually brushing properly? We’ve got some helpful information that’ll help keep things like cavities and gum disease at bay. Take a look at these nine common toothbrushing mistakes – and how to go about fixing them.
1. The Wrong Brush
Don’t just pick up the first brush you see in the grocery store aisle. You want a brush that feels good in your hand. Pick the soft variety; medium and firm bristles can damage your gums and enamel. Also, consider the size of the brush. “Think about the size of your mouth,” says Richard H. Price, DMD, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association. “If you are straining to open wide enough to let the brush in, the brush is probably too big.”
2. Short on Time
How often do you brush? While twice a day is recommended, three times a day is best. Make sure you aim for at least two minutes every time you brush.
3. Overdoing It
Using too much force while brushing can damage your enamel. “Don’t bear down too hard,” says Michael Sesemann, DDS. “Use a lighter touch.”
4. Improper Technique
Are you brushing the right way? Sesemann suggests holding the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and using short, up-and-down strokes. And don’t skip any teeth. “Don’t forget about those hard-to-reach areas,” advises Sesemann.
5. Stuck in a Rut
Dentists report that most of us always start brushing in the same location. It’s important to switch up your routine every day so you don’t get lazy. “Keep track of where you are going and where you have been. Make it to all the surfaces,” Sesemann says.
6. The Wrong Products
Yes, the kind of toothpaste you use really does matter. Whitening and tartar-control toothpastes can be too harsh, often sanding away healthy tooth structure. Low-abrasive fluoride toothpastes are best.
7. The Acid Factor
All the proper dental care in the world isn’t going to help you if you’re constantly bombarding your teeth with acid. Things like energy drinks, sodas, coffee, juices, and candy all contain acids that soften enamel. If you simply can’t avoid them altogether, wait at least half an hour to brush after consuming acid-containing foods. “The mechanical action of brushing softened teeth is the perfect recipe for wearing away enamel,” Sesemann says.
8. Potty Mouth
Where do you store your toothbrush? Likely it’s in the bathroom, which is far from the cleanest place in the house. Your best bet: don’t leave it on the counter or close to the toilet. And let it air dry – a moist brush is a breeding ground for bacteria.
9. Can’t Let Go
Just how old is that brush you’re using anyway? If you’ve been using it for more than three or four months, toss it. Also make sure you check the bristles regularly. Dentists recommend changing your brush when the bristles lose their flexibility and break apart.
Don’t let tooth-brushing mistakes stand between you and a healthy smile. For more information and tips on proper brushing, give Dr. Lattinelli’s office a call or log on to www.drlattinelli.com today!