Brushing twice a day is great, but if the brushing is not done correctly, bacteria and plaque can continue to build up. Below are six tooth brushing mistakes and tips for avoiding them.
- Brushing too close to eating
After eating acidic foods or drinks, it is important to leave 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. This ensures that the protective layer of saliva which covers the teeth can recover. However, most importantly you should brush your teeth, particularly at night as it will remove the deposits which have built up during the day. Making sure your clean before going to sleep will also help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease by stopping bacteria accumulate overnight.
- Not brushing for long enough
We are taught to brush our teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. However, most people spend less than 30 seconds brushing their teeth! Using a timer on your phone or watching a clock can help you to brush for the full two minutes on each brushing occasion.
- Rinsing out after brushing
To ensure that you do not wash away the fluoride and enamel protecting properties of the toothpaste, you should not rinse your mouth out with water or mouth wash after brushing.
- Brushing too hard
Brushing too hard can wear out your teeth and harm your gums. Electric toothbrushes can help to stop you from brushing too hard. You can also ask your dental hygienist to show you how hard to brush your teeth so that you can keep them healthy and strong.
- Using the wrong toothbrush or toothpaste
When buying toothpaste, make sure that it contains fluoride in an adequate amount to help prevent tooth decay. For adults, the toothpaste should contain 1350 to 1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride. When buying a toothbrush, consider an electric toothbrush as they can help you to reach the back of your mouth and can also give you an alert if you are brushing too hard, or if you are not brushing for long enough. Importantly, whatever toothbrush you go for, select one with soft or medium bristles so that you can clean your teeth gently without causing harm.
6. Flossing incorrectly
Flossing is important as it ensures that the fine plaque and biofilm that builds up between teeth and gums is removed. Flossing can be difficult so, to help you floss better, use interdental brushes which can get between teeth and clean the sides – an area that other types of flossing can miss.
Brushing our teeth twice a day for two minutes is important. To make sure we get the most from brushing our teeth, we should be aware of mistakes that can be made. Waiting for 30 minutes after eating, not brushing too hard, using an appropriate toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and flossing correctly are all good ways to prevent tooth and gum damage. If you have any questions, speak to your dentists or seek oral hygiene advice from your dental hygienist, who will also be able to help you keep your teeth healthy and strong when at home.