What Mistakes Are You Making When You Brush Your Teeth?

Brushing your teeth can be the most annoying part of your day–especially since you should be doing it twice, and flossing during one of those quick sessions. The routine can be hard to get into, and brushing and flossing are often easily dismissed when we’re on vacation or on the go. The bigger problem is even when we do it, most of us are doing it wrong.

Most of us brush too hard, and too fast. When we do this, we can gradually reduce the coverage of the protective enamel barrier over our teeth, causing more cavities over time. On top of that, our gum line could recede, introducing gum disease. If you’re culpable of doing this, then choose a brush with softer bristles.

Another problem is the “when.” While most of us are well aware that candy and other sweets can wreak deadly havoc on our teeth, you might not know that you can really mitigate this concern by simply gargling water after you’ve finished your treat. Wait a short while after that, and then give them a brush just to finish rinsing the sugar away. It can give rise to the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

A lot of us brush left to right, and that’s not the right way. Brush up and down, creating a circular motion as you go. Even more important is allowing the bristles of your brush to dig into the gum. Not enough to cause damage, but enough to remove any clinging food particles.

If you have any questions about proper form, don’t be embarrassed–just ask your dentist! You might be surprised how willing they are to teach.

Sometimes, it’s not what we’re doing while we brush our teeth–it’s what we do directly before or after. At some point in your life, you’ve probably enjoyed swishing mouthwash around for a minute or two. What you might not know is that it usually isn’t conducive to a healthy mouth, and when you do use mouthwash, you should make sure it doesn’t contain any alcohol. The reason is simple enough: the alcohol kills bacteria and germs, but some bacteria is good for you. Without any good bacteria to balance out the bad, you’re left less healthy than when you began.

Mouthwash has also been linked to a number of unfortunate side effects, and worst among them is oral cancer. Using it can also severely mitigate the effects of toothpaste because the chemicals in each product counteract one another. In other words, if you’re already brushing properly, you should probably say “no” to the mouthwash. The biggest reason is simply that if you’re already brushing and flossing the right way and as often as you’re supposed to, then you just don’t need mouthwash to promote a healthy environment for your mouth.

The only reason you might need mouthwash is if you have a form of illness it can help fight, such as tooth decay or gum disease.

A good rule of thumb is to pay attention while you brush your teeth. For most of us, the routine is somewhat monotonous. In other words, we don’t watch what we’re doing and that can lead to a number of mistakes, all of which can lead to problems with our teeth, gums or bad breath. It’s not so difficult to train yourself to brush the right way, but it will take some time while you adopt the new rhythm.