Each morning when you wake and each evening before retiring to bed, you faithfully brush your teeth. Most days, you even remember to floss. Your visit your dentist’s office twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. Overall, you feel pretty confident about your oral health; after all, you’re doing everything you can to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. Or are you? People make several common dental health mistakes every day without realizing it—even those who faithfully brush and floss their teeth. How many are you making?
- Brushing with force. The best way to clean anything is to scrub as hard as you can, right? Well, not when it comes to your teeth. Brushing with too much force can actually harm your oral health. Hard brushing can cause gum irritation and recession. It can also result in enamel erosion and ultimately lead to tooth decay. So, while you want to brush thoroughly, you don’t want to brush aggressively. Instead, try brushing with a gentle, circular motion.
- Avoiding the tongue. The poor, neglected tongue. Countless people brush their teeth twice a day as recommended but completely avoid brushing their tongues. But is tongue brushing essential? In fact, it is. The tongue is covered with small grooves, which make ideal hiding places for harmful bacteria. Not only can the bacteria cause terrible breath, but it can also lead to tooth decay. So, when you pick up that toothbrush at least twice daily, remember not to neglect your tongue.
- Loving your toothbrush a little too much. It’s a relatively common scenario: you find a toothbrush you love, and you want to stick with it. A month becomes six months and six months becomes a year—and ultimately, you find yourself brushing with a frayed, worn-out toothbrush. But your toothbrush’s haggard appearance isn’t the problem; instead, the main concern with an old toothbrush is its lack of effectiveness. You can brush your teeth after every single meal, but if you’re doing it with a worn-out toothbrush, you’re essentially wasting your time. A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
- Sharing toothbrushes. Sharing is caring is true in many cases—but not when it comes to toothbrush swapping. It might be tempting to borrow a friend or spouse’s toothbrush but resist the urge. Not only will you be sharing toothbrushes, but you’ll also be swapping bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
- Missing the tough-to-reach spots. Even if you’re regularly brushing your teeth twice a day, are you truly doing a thorough job? For most, teeth brushing is a fairly automatic activity—something that is completed without a lot of thought. This often leads to certain parts of the mouth getting a lot of attention—the outside of the teeth, for example—and other parts of the mouth being missed entirely. In addition to the tongue, the most neglected spots are the inside of the teeth, the gums, and the roof of the mouth—most likely because they’re harder to reach than the outside of the teeth. But the extra effort is worth it; you’ll have a much healthier mouth and a much brighter smile to show for it.
- Forgetting to rinse. Following up brushing and flossing with a fluoride rinse can do wonders for your oral health. Not only will it help chase lingering bacteria from your mouth, but it will also work to strengthen your enamel. But if you find yourself in a bind without any rinse handy, do the next best thing: give your mouth a good rinse with water.
To learn more about common oral health mistakes you might be making and how we can help you combat them, please contact us today!