6 Tooth Brushing Mistakes You May Be Making
- Not Cleaning at the Right Time of Day
The most important time of day to brush is before bed. When you are sleeping there is a long period of time that the bacteria in your mouth can feed and grow without being disturbed. Another common mistake is that many people brush their teeth before they have breakfast, which is fine as long as you brush again after you eat. It’s okay to freshen your breath in the morning but remember to brush after you eat. After all, you wouldn’t have a shower before exercising at the gym and then leave the gym all sweaty without showering again, would you?
- You Choose the Wrong Brush
Anything other than a soft toothbrush has the potential to harm your gums. Food residue, sugary liquids and plaque are all soft and can be removed easily with gentle brushing and flossing. Correct brushing is about how thoroughly you brush, not about how hard your scrub. Always choose a soft bristled brush.
- Ignoring the Rest of Your Mouth
Not only your teeth need cleaning every day, your tongue harbors food and bacteria as well. Tiny crevices between the “papillae” on the back of the tongue require daily cleaning, those bacteria stink! Use a tongue scraper or your toothbrush, some brushes have tongue scrapers on the backside, to get rid of these harmful and smelly bacteria.
- Not Using Correct Technique
Many people never really learned how to brush properly and sometimes dental professionals are guilty of paying “lip service” to proper oral hygiene without actually showing their patients how to do it properly. Demonstrate correct and regular oral hygiene for your family and always check with us if you have any questions about technique or tools. Remember, never “scrub” and don’t apply too much pressure when brushing and flossing.
- Not Brushing a Full 2 Minutes
The Canadian Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Two minutes is a long time if you’re watching the clock! Make those two minutes fun or informative, listen to a song or a podcast you’ve been meaning to catch. You can buy electric toothbrushes that operate on a timer for 2 minutes, so you can focus on proper technique and not timing.
- Not Replacing a Worn Brush
We suggest you replace your brush every 3-4 months, more frequently if the bristles become worn. Worn bristles can’t effectively remove plaque and bacteria when you brush and can cause damage to your gums. Consider this: Bacteria and viruses from an illness can reside in the bristles of your toothbrush and potentially re-infect you. Always rinse your toothbrush well after each use and NEVER share a toothbrush.
As always, our staff at Park Mall Dental Centre in Sherwood Park are available to address any concerns or questions you have about the correct way to brush and floss. Don’t hesitate to ask us the next time you visit our Sherwood Park office. Happy Brushing!