Oral health is often described as a window to general health; the relationship between the two typically proven to be a two-way street. While many systemic diseases manifest in the mouth as deadly oral symptoms, some common dental ailments have also been directly linked to causing serious medical conditions, some even fatal. In order to fight against these deleterious consequences, we often take the help of oral hygiene measures like brushing and flossing.
Toothbrushing may be one of the most heavily ingrained of all health habits. It is almost second nature to brush as thoughtlessly as you would blink your eyes or swallow your food. So, when dental hygienists explain to you the right way to brush your teeth, you might even scoff at their futile attempt. “Who needs to be advised on how to brush their teeth?”, you might think. Unfortunately, more of us than you might think!
Research suggests that only in fact 1 in every 10 Americans know how to brush their teeth correctly. With that slim probability, you could also be one of the many novice brush-ers! Here are seven amateur toothbrushing mistakes you might be making, according to the American Dental Association (ADA)! Let’s brush up on toothbrushing!
Mistake #1: You keep your brush for too long
The average life cycle of a toothbrush is about three months. The ADA recommends that you replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months because by then, the bristles are bound to be worn out and frayed.
Frayed or broken bristles do more harm to your teeth than they do good so the next time you stroll down the oral hygiene aisle at your local supermarket, grab yourself a pack of soft-bristled toothbrushes to switch it up every few months.
Mistake #2: You do not brush long enough
Racers, listen up! You should be brushing your teeth for an average of two minutes, twice a day. Most of us fall short – the average time most people spend brushing is only 45 seconds! Anything shorter than two minutes of deep cleaning prevents fluoride in your toothpaste from adhering to your teeth and replenishing their lost minerals.
If you realize that you’re speeding through brushing, set a timer or distract yourself by humming or dancing to your favorite tune!
Mistake #3: You brush with too much force
Believe it or not, there is something called over-brushing. You may think that by brushing harder you’ll be able to remove more leftover food and bacteria that cling to your teeth surfaces. But instead, all you’re doing is causing irritation to your gums and wearing down your tooth enamel.
Mistake #4: You brush right after eating
It might make sense that you should brush your teeth immediately after you eat or drink anything, but that idea is completely flawed. Wait at least 60 minutes before brushing, especially if you’ve had something acidic to eat like lemons, grapefruit, or soda. Drink water to help clean your mouth while you’re waiting to brush.
Mistake #5: You store your toothbrush incorrectly
People often store toothbrushes after use with caps on to protect them from bacteria in the air. However, that logic is actually inaccurate. The problem with storing your wet toothbrush in a confined space is that you’re permitting the growth of bacteria. When you’re done brushing, keep your toothbrush upright and let it air dry in the open.
Mistake #6: You use a hard-bristled toothbrush
Excessively hard toothbrushes can hurt your gums. Use soft-bristled toothbrushes to dislodge food particles that are stuck between your teeth. You should talk to your dentist about what kind of toothbrush is best for you.
Mistake #7: You’re using an improper brushing technique
According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), the correct way to brush your teeth is first by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the brush and gently moving it back and forth in short strokes.
Brush the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finally, clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making several up-and-down strokes.
Are you making any of these toothbrushing mistakes?
1. American Dental Association –
2. Canadian Dental Association –