Brushing your teeth seems like a fairly simple task. In reality, many of us are making mistakes that are putting our teeth and gums at risk. It could be an issue with technique or just a rushed job. Either way, these common mistakes when brushing teeth could end up costing you in the long run. If you’re lucky, it might just be a cavity here and there. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for most people.
Common Mistakes When Brushing Teeth
A lifetime of brushing mistakes will ultimately result in permanent damage that requires costly repairs and prosthetics. If you’re hoping to put off visiting your local expert for periodontics in Burbank, then you will need to improve your brushing habits as soon as possible. Here are some key mistakes to watch out for.
You’re Using the Wrong Brush
To get the best results, you need to get a toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association. These brushes have soft bristles, allowing them to adjust around the gum line for the best effect. You will also need to choose a toothbrush that fits your mouth. If you have a smaller mouth, then a larger toothbrush head could make it difficult to reach your furthest molars, increasing your chance of tooth decay in those areas.
You’re Brushing at a 90 Degree Angle
When you brush your teeth, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle so that the bristles point towards the gums. This position allows your toothbrush to clean around the edge of the gum, as it was intended to. Brushing at a 90-degree angle is only beneficial for the front surface of the tooth, neglecting the most vulnerable areas.
You’re Brushing Too Hard
Your enamel isn’t as hard as you might think and brushing too hard can do damage over time. Putting that much pressure on your toothbrush also compresses the bristles, making it impossible for them to move the way they are supposed to.
You’re Brushing Back and Forth
Brushing back and forth only benefits the front middle of your teeth. To really get along the inner edges and gumline, you’ll need to switch up your technique. Dentists suggest using small circular motions that gradually move along the lateral surfaces of your teeth. This allows the bristles to move up and around the edges of the gumline in a smooth and effective way.
You’re Neglecting the Interior Side
The backs of your teeth need to be brushed just as thoroughly. It can be a little more challenging, but it’s vital to protecting your teeth and gums. If you’re struggling to work your toothbrush around any particular area, you can always ask your dental hygienist for advice during your next cleaning.
You’re Not Replacing Your Brush
You should be replacing your toothbrush and toothbrush head every three to four months. At that point the bristles begin to break down and lose their shape. Given that the efficacy of your brush relies on those structures, an older brush isn’t going to stand up against plaque.
You’re Brushing Too Soon
Most dentists suggest waiting 15-20 minutes after a meal before you brush your teeth. That is because many of the foods and drinks we consume contain minor acids capable of temporarily softening our enamel. Your saliva can normally neutralize the acid in about 15-20 minutes. However, you may want to wait 30 minutes after consuming something highly acidic like coffee or red wine.
These are very common mistakes, so don’t be surprised if several of them sound familiar. By making just a few adjustments, you can ensure you’re taking better care of your teeth. Of course, if you have any other questions about what you can do to improve your oral health, feel free to talk to your local dentist at Coastland Dental in Burbank.