Clean teeth and good oral hygiene habits not only help you feel confident about your looks and breath but they also help you maintain many aspects of your health, including keeping your gums and teeth healthy so you’re able to grind and chew your food.
Brushing your teeth is an integral part of oral hygiene. Proper brushing prevents various oral problems like teeth staining, cavities, gum bleeding and plaque formation. Since it’s something you’ve been doing your entire life, it might seem an easy task. But you’d be surprised to know how common it is for adults to make mistakes during this regular practice.
Following are some brushing mistakes you should definitely try to avoid:
Mistake 1: Using a wrong toothbrush
We all know that toothbrushes come in many different shapes and sizes. And size does matter in this case because when you use a brush that is too small for the oral cavity, it may not be able to cover all the surfaces that need cleaning. Similarly, a big brush for a smaller mouth may not be able to reach the corners and could hurt your gums too. This hampers proper removal of the plaque and germs that may later cause cavities or gum diseases. You may also want to compare bristle hardness and patterns before you make a choice.
Mistake 2: Using an old toothbrush
Once you’ve found the perfect brush, it may seem hard to replace. But brushing with a brush that has worn out, with the bristles becoming bent or frayed, can compromise your oral health. Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three to four months, so get on it even if you can’t quite tell if yours is fraying.
Mistake 3: Rushing the brushing
When you get late for your school or office, you try to cut many corners – quicker shower, skipping breakfast and, of course, spending less time brushing your teeth. But brushing in a rush may not be good enough to clean all of your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests brushing for two minutes twice a day.
Mistake 4: Brushing your teeth back and forth
Scrubbing the teeth back and forth while brushing can not only hurt the gums but also doesn’t clean the corners between the teeth. This leaves behind the plaque and bacteria, which can cause cavities and other oral problems. Dentists recommend brushing the teeth with small circular and up-and-down motions, starting from the gums. This might take some getting used to, but you should be able to master the technique quickly enough.
Mistake 5: Forgetting the gums
Most of the brushing time is spent cleaning the chewing surfaces. But, you should know that the gum line (cleavage between teeth and gums towards the root of the teeth) can harbour a lot of bacteria and plaque. These are responsible for future gum bleeding and pain, which is why you must not forget to clean the gum line. Keep the brush bent at a 45-degree angle and let the bristles enter the gum line, then clean the area with soft circular motions. It is a very narrow space so be careful while brushing or you may hurt yourself. Also, it would be ideal to use a soft-bristle toothbrush that prevents the gums from getting hurt.
Mistake 6: Brushing right after meals
Many people brush their teeth right after a meal to help remove any stuck food particles. Most of the food items we consume are acidic in nature, so this makes the oral cavity an acidic environment. Brushing the teeth immediately after eating with a basic toothpaste can slowly wash away the enamel layer of your teeth. In the long run, it weakens the enamel and leads to teeth sensitivity. Always wait for 15-20 minutes after you eat something and then brush your teeth.