Do your resolutions for 2017 include goals for your oral health? The start of this new year represents a clean slate and the perfect opportunity to break bad habits that can harm your dental health. While most people consider brushing their teeth as a basic part of oral care, there are plenty of common brushing mistakes that inhibit your ability to properly remove plaque.
Dr. Mark Tall and the rest of the talented staff at Sandcreek Dental encourage our patients to take a critical look at their brushing habits. After all, a 2014 survey from the American Dental Association found that many Americans don’t brush long enough or frequently enough!
Correcting any bad habit or shortcomings in your dental care routine can make a world of difference for your dental health. Take a look at the most common brushing mistakes made below and make 2017 the healthiest year for your smile.
Top 10 Brushing Mistakes To Avoid
Want to step up your dental care routine? A great place to start is by identifying brushing mistakes that can either harm your teeth or be ineffective at removing plaque. The most common brushing blunders include:
- Not Brushing Long Enough: Dental professionals recommend brushing for at least two minutes twice a day. According to the Delta Dental Oral Health and WellBeing survey, Americans brush for an average of 1 minute and 52 seconds. Brushing for the full duration is important because it gives you the time to thoroughly clean every surface of each tooth.
- Brushing Too Hard: The amount of pressure you place on your teeth is also important to properly removing plaque and food particles. In this case, more pressure isn’t a more effective way to clean your teeth. Brushing your teeth too hard can actually end up harming your dental health more than helping it.
- Brushing After Eating Or Drinking: Each time you eat or drink, the pH in your mouth is altered. This occurs because many of the foods and drinks we consume are acidic, which weakens tooth enamel. Brushing after eating something will end up damaging your enamel.
- Using A Hard-Bristled Toothbrush: Picking the right tools is also important for properly caring for your teeth. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush can be too abrasive for your teeth and will end up scraping the protective layer of tooth enamel.
- Using An Old Toothbrush: When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush or toothbrush head? If you’re unsure, it’s most likely time to switch out your toothbrush. The rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles start to fray. Doing so will make sure you’re using a toothbrush that properly cleans your teeth while properly removing plaque and food debri.
- Not Brushing Your Tongue: Your mouth can still be harboring bacteria if you’re skipping out on brushing your tongue. Due to the size of your tongue, bacteria can easily accumulate. If you aren’t already brushing your tongue as a part of your dental routine, 2017 is the year to start making it a habit.
- Storing Your Toothbrush Improperly: For sanitary reasons, it’s important to store your toothbrush upright in an open and dry environment. Keeping your toothbrush in a closed container will allow for bacteria to grow. If you use the toothbrush after having it enclosed, you will continue to expose your mouth to more bacteria.
- Using The Wrong Motion: Your brushing technique is just as important as the duration or frequency of your dental care. Using a back-and-forth motion can be too harsh for your teeth and not efficient at removing bacteria. It’s best to use small circular motions with gentle pressure.
- Not Brushing Inner Surfaces Of Teeth: Consider all surfaces of the tooth — including the outer, inner or chewing surfaces. Remember, plaque can hide away on all surfaces of the tooth. That is why it’s so important to take the full two minutes to properly remove plaque from all areas of teeth.
- Not Rinsing Your Toothbrush: Using a toothbrush infested with bacteria will only further harm your dental health. It’s important to rinse your toothbrush each time after brushing your teeth. Not rinsing your toothbrush with water after use will put old bacteria back into your mouth.
Contact Sandcreek Dental
The foundation of a healthy smile is a proper oral care routine. If you’ve been lax about your dental care in the past or want to improve your routine, consider tackling some of the most common brushing mistakes.
For patients in need of professional care, feel free to contact our office! Here at Sandcreek Dental, we offer a variety of services including cosmetic, restorative, sedation and general dentistry. Contact our office today to learn how we can help care for your smile in the new year!