How hard can brushing be? By now, you have probably been brushing your teeth for at least 20 years, making it second nature to you at this point. But, dental experts still say that improper brushing is more common than most people realize.
I didn’t realize I was brushing my teeth wrong until my last dental appointment. Thankfully, I had no cavities, but my dental hygienist pointed out a few things I was doing wrong when examining my gums. Specifically, she talked about my brushing habits. Apparently the things she pointed out were common mistakes, but I never knew about them.
So, I did some more research and found out some common mistakes people make when brushing their teeth:
1. Brushing Too Hard
According to Dr. David S. Keen, you don’t need that much force when brushing your teeth to do a good job. The bacteria and food particles that remain on the teeth after eating are very soft in texture, so gentle brushing is all you need.
If you brush too hard, it can actually negatively affect your teeth and even cause gum recession, said Dr. Keen. According to Dr. Matt Messina, you should think of it less as ‘scrubbing’ and more as ‘massaging’ your teeth.
2. Brushing Back and Forth
This was the main issue my dental hygienist highlighted with me. She stressed how I should stop using a back and forth motion when brushing my teeth because it can scrape my gums away.
According to Dr. Shawn Frawley, you should brush in a circular motion, angling the bristles at a 45 degree angle to the gum line and focus at a couple teeth at a time.
3. Not Tossing an Old Brush
You have probably heard that you should be replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. And it is true, but most people push their toothbrush to its limits.
According to Dr. Frawley, the bristles cannot properly clean the various surfaces of your teeth when they become frayed, so make sure you are changing your toothbrush regularly!
According to the American Dental Association, you should be brushing your teeth for a full two minutes, two times a day. However, the average time people spend brushing their teeth is only 45 seconds.
You can sacrifice four minutes out of your day to properly clean your teeth. Your mouth will thank you in the long run.
5. Not Brushing the Tongue
Simply brushing your teeth is not enough to have a healthy mouth. Bacteria also love to cling onto your tongue. According to Dr. John D. Kling, bacteria will accumulate greatly in the areas of the tongue between the taste buds and other tongue structures.
These bacteria on your tongue can cause bad breath and tooth damage, so make sure you don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Sources: Everyday Health, Healthline, Mouth Healthy, Web MD
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