When most people first learn to brush their teeth, they’re using a combination of techniques taught to them by their dentist, parents, and maybe even their friends at school. Combining all of that information can leave you with a mottled idea of how you should actually be doing the task, which is how bad brushing habits are formed. Read on for five ways you could be harming your teeth and gums instead of optimizing their health.
Applying Too Much Force When You Brush
It makes sense why most people believe that the more force they put on their toothbrush while they’re cleaning their teeth, the more plaque and food particles will be removed from their mouth. As sound as this logic seems, there’s actually such a thing as putting too much elbow grease into your morning and nightly routine. Brushing too aggressively can cause your enamel to erode faster than normal and even irritate your gums. The force could lead to problems such as infections, gum recession, and increased risk of oral health problems.
Forgetting To Get a New Toothbrush
If you’re not sure how often you’re supposed to change out your toothbrush, join the club. Most people aren’t aware that their toothbrush should be changed out every three months, or when the bristles begin to look frayed. The American Dental Association recommends getting a new brush at the start of each season to prevent germ and bacteria accumulation that can cause oral infections.
Brushing Too Soon After You’ve Eaten
If you take pride in maintaining excellent oral health, you are probably diligent about brushing after each meal to reduce your risk of cavities. However, you may be brushing too soon after you’ve eaten. The acid from the foods and beverages that you’ve just consumed softens your enamel. When you brush softened enamel, it can cause it to erode faster than usual. That’s why it’s important to wait at least 20 minutes after your snack or meal to brush your teeth.
Not Cleaning Your Tongue
If you’re a busy person or you like to sleep in until the absolute last minute, you may rush through your oral hygiene routine. This could cause you to forget to clean one of the most important features of your mouth, your tongue. This muscle traps harmful oral bacteria and food debris that can cause your breath to smell bad and increase your risk of oral health problems, which is why it’s so important to clean twice every day.
Using a Hard-Bristled Brush
Although your local department store sells hard-bristled toothbrushes, there will never be a reason why you need to buy one. These put stress on your gums, which can cause them to become damaged and recede from your teeth, exposing your fragile roots to harmful substances. Instead, use soft bristles, non-latex rubber bristles, or ask your dentist if they have any recommendations for you.
When you listen to how your dentist says to brush your teeth, you can keep your teeth and gums safe from becoming damaged. With the right tools and techniques in your pocket, your natural smile will stay looking beautiful and feeling healthy for decades to come.
About the Author
Dr. James Striebel has been providing his community with comprehensive dental care for over 20 years. Over that time, he has been able to improve the health and look of countless patients’ mouths, making them feel great about showing off their smiles. He is an active member of several professional organizations, including the Ohio Dental Association, American Dental Association, and many more. For questions or to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning, visit his website or call 937-235-2400.