Some of you reading this might think, Hey I’ve been brushing my teeth for years and it’s been going well so far, surely i’m doing everything right!
As a dentist, I see many problems that arise from mistakes done when brushing and I thought I’d write this post to help point out some of the most common mistakes I see
Mistake #1: Not Brushing LONG Enough
How long is 2 minutes? Your perception of what 2 minutes should be can sometimes be way off. Getting a timer can help (but again who can be bothered). Otherwise many of the electric toothbrushes these days come with a built in timer that shakes the brush differently when the 2 minutes are done.
Mistake # 2 and #3: Brushing Too Hard For Too Long
A bit of dangerous combo here, you shouldn’t brush for more than 2 minutes twice a day. Doing so should be sufficient to clean all surfaces of your teeth.
Mistake #4: Using Medium or Hard Toothbrush
I am yet to see anyone in the past 10 years that has not had any damage to their teeth and gums from brushing with a medium or a hard toothbrush. Always use a soft toothbrush which again should be sufficient to remove all the plaque from your teeth thoroughly!
Mistake #5: Not Changing the Toothbrush Regularly
Goes without saying, the bristles on your brush become frayed and soften, losing their effectiveness in thoroughly cleaning your teeth. the ADA (Australian Dental Association) recommends changing your toothbrush (or toothbrush head in electric toothbrushes) every 3-4 months.
Mistake #6: Using Incorrect Brushing Technique And Motion
Please Don’t go back and forth (aka Scrubbing). The best way to brush is by circular motion of your brush. It’s more gentle and effective at cleaning the gaps between the teeth. I rarely see damage from this technique.
Mistake #7: Brushing Immediately After Meals
Now that’s a new one! Did you know that acid from food can damage your teeth if you brush straight after meals? It’s best to wait at least 30mins for the pH in the saliva to neutralise the Acid. That’s specially if you had a bit of white wine or acidic juice with the meal!
Mistake #8: Not Brushing your tongue
Yes I know, the post is about brushing your teeth, but while you’ve got your SOFT toothbrush handy, give you tongue a scrub with the bristles or the back of the toothbrush (most of them have a tongue scraper-like texture for that).
Stay tuned for more. Flossing next?