The Most Common Tooth-brushing Mistakes

Categories: Dental, Oral Hygiene

Breaking Bad Tooth-brushing Habits

It seems silly to think we can make common tooth-brushing mistakes, but it’s true.

Most of our tooth-brushing habits have developed over the years and many of us continue to brush our teeth without thinking twice about the method or the proper utensils for proper tooth-brushing.  This can lead to cavities and gum disease. Here are a few tips to help prevent you from making common tooth-brushing mistakes.

The Right Tooth Brush

Whether you use a manual toothbrush or electric, the size and shape do matter. Buy a toothbrush that fits comfortably into your mouth as well as a handle that fits easily into your hand. You won’t be able to brush your teeth properly if the brush is too large and clumsy.

The bristles on the toothbrush are equally important. The American Dental Association recommends a soft bristle to prevent damage to the teeth and gums. Natural bristles are not commonly used as they will damage the gum tissue. As for the shape of the bristles, most dentists agree that the shape is not as important as the method of brushing.

Suggested Tooth-brushing Methods

The recommended amount of time to spend brushing your teeth is minimum 2 minutes, with 3 minutes being best.  The frequency of tooth-brushing should be at least twice daily, three times daily being ideal.  Don’t overdo it!  Too much brushing can lead to an exposed root area.

The best method for brushing your teeth is to divide the mouth in quadrants. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant making sure to brush up from the gum line on the outside, the top of teeth and then the inside portion.  Take the time to be conscious of your brushing technique for a thorough cleaning. Another good suggestion is to start your brushing at a different quadrant each time you brush. This way you won’t get bored with the process and you will stay aware of your method.  A short, gentle stroke with the brush at a 45 degree angle is best for the health of your gums.  If you’re using long horizontal strokes, it’s time to change that habit.

Brushing too hard will not make up for a proper two minute brushing.  Hard brushing is damaging to the soft tissue of the gum area. Teeth left un-brushed allow plaque and harmful bacteria buildup, so brushing once daily is not enough.

It’s a good idea to rinse thoroughly after brushing to eliminate any remaining toothpaste or loosened plaque in the mouth.

Caring for Your Toothbrush

When you are finished with your proper brushing method, it is very important to rinse your tooth brush thoroughly. Leaving old toothpaste and bacteria will only re-introduce it to you mouth the next time you brush.

Allow your brush to dry thoroughly. A damp toothbrush will create harmful bacteria. A soggy toothbrush will mis-shape the bristles and that makes it difficult to get the best cleaning action from the bristles.

Change your toothbrush often. It’s not about the amount of time you have used the brush, but more about the appearance of the bristles.  If the bristles look like they’re splitting and have lost their normal flexibility, it’s time to replace the brush.

Ocean County dentist, Dr. Ron Rotem, wants his patients to be well informed when it comes to their oral health.  Since your oral health can affect your overall health, contact Dr. Ron Rotem for a thorough examination and consultation on the health of your gums and teeth.

And remember, for a healthy, beautiful smile; use our suggestions to kick the habit of making the most common tooth-brushing mistakes.