If you’re looking to correct common toothbrushing mistakes, you’re accomplishing more than half the battle. A 2019 Delta Dental study found that 31% of Americans fail to brush their teeth the recommended two times per day. Shockingly, 2% admitted to not brushing at all. Beyond that, 12% of respondents reported that the longest they had gone without brushing was two days – that’s some serious bad breath.
The benefits of brushing and its once daily twin, flossing, are tremendous. People who don’t brush regularly have a heightened risk of stained teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious health problems. But even if you brush twice daily, you can probably still up your game to get the most out of this healthy habit. Learn five of the most common toothbrushing mistakes you should avoid and how to correct them.
Are you looking for a dental practice that combines high-quality service with a caring and gentle atmosphere? If so, come see the team at Dr. Juan M Carrillo DMD in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Carrillo and the rest of our staff look to give every patient “dentistry with integrity and genuine care.” Our practice extends from pediatric to geriatric patients, and we provide the best dental care for everyone’s long-term oral health.
Here are five toothbrushing no-no’s to avoid.
1. Don’t keep your brush for too long
No matter how much you love your toothbrush, it just isn’t meant to be. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you switch to a new brush every three to four months. If you have trouble remembering that, try to change your brush with the seasons. You need to change your brush because it becomes less effective over time – frayed and broken bristles just can’t achieve the same clean.
2. Don’t cut things short
The national average tooth brushing time is only 45 second. This is less than half the time recommended by the ADA. You need to brush for a full two minutes to make sure that you’ve removed built-up plaque and food. If you’re worried about making it a full two minutes, use a timer or invest in an electric brush with a built-in timer.
3. Harder isn’t better
While it may sound counterintuitive, you’re actually better served by a soft-bristle toothbrush than a hard-bristle version. Soft bristles do plenty when it comes to cleaning plaque and food, while hard-bristles are better left for stain removal and dentures. Everyday use of a hard-bristle brush can actually wear down your enamel and damage gum tissue. While you’re at it, let up on the pressure when using a soft-bristle brush, too.
4. Don’t forget parts of your mouth
Hopefully, you know that you should brush in little circles throughout your whole mouth. The key word here is whole. Don’t just brush the outside of your teeth. You need to hit the gum line and the tongue side of your mouth as well. Also, make sure you give your tongue a good once-over. Bacteria hang out on your tongue just as much as your teeth, and you may get better breath as a bonus.
5. Wait before you brush
Have you ever known someone who brushes their teeth right after lunch? They were actually doing themselves a disservice. Brushing right after you eat, especially acidic foods, actually rubs acid deeper into your teeth, leading to erosion and enamel damage. The ADA recommends that you wait 60 minutes before you brush following a meal. This gives your saliva a chance to neutralize any acid and will result in the best overall clean.
Even the best brushing routine needs the help of an occasional professional cleaning. Dr. Carrillo will make sure your mouth is in tip-top shape. Call or send an online message to our office today.