Brushing has become such a staple in our everyday routine, that it has become easy for us to take it for granted. In our morning rush to get ready for school and work, we often speed through brushing in an attempt to make up some lost time. Of course, this is the last place we should be looking to cut corners. Here are 8 common brushing mistakes that are harming your teeth.
1.) You aren’t brushing long enough. We recommend brushing for 2-3 minutes, but chances are you probably only brush for around a minute on average. Some solutions could be: take a timer into the bathroom and set it for at least 2 minutes, get an electric toothbrush with a built in timer that you can set, or our favorite, listen to or hum your favorite song while you brush!
2.) You’re not paying attention to what you’re doing. You’re brushing alright…but chances are you aren’t looking in the mirror watching what you’re doing. Concentrate a little more on those tough to get places (like the gum line!) by watching yourself in the mirror as you brush those areas. It will help you do a better job.
3.) Your technique needs a MAJOR makeover. Your enamel is strong, but that doesn’t mean it is bulletproof. Brushing in straight lines by only moving front and back can damage enamel over time and be similar to sawing down a tree. Instead, focus on a few teeth at a time and brush in little circles and mix in brushing in all directions (up, down, front back). When you are done brushing in circles, go around your mouth again and brush away from the gum line to clear away the loosened plaque and bacteria from the surface of your teeth.
4.) Take it easy! You’re probably brushing too hard and using a toothbrush that is too tough. There is no need and it is actually harming your teeth. Try gripping your toothbrush between only your thumb and your pointer finger and middle finger as opposed to grasping your brush with your whole hand. This will put less force behind your brushing.
5.) You’re using the wrong toothbrush. Buy a soft or ultra soft toothbrush. Anything else is too tough and will harm your teeth over time. Make sure you replace your toothbrush every 3 months, too – or sooner if the bristles start to wear down.
6.) You’re using the wrong toothpaste. Baking soda toothpastes and other heavy duty cleaning chemical toothpastes are abrasive, which means they not only remove stains, they also potentially damaging your enamel if used over a long period of time. Use anything ADA approved – here is a list for you to choose from http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/ada-seal-products/product-category/?supercategory=2
7.) You aren’t flossing. There isn’t a toothbrush available that can reach all the spaces in between your teeth. Just not going to happen. That is where flossing comes in. It is necessary. If using floss is difficult for you, then purchase the flosser sticks that are easy to use and maneuver in your mouth. Between the teeth is where bacteria most often forms and can eventually lead to tooth decay if not dealt with. So deal with it. Tip: try flossing in front of the TV to make it seem like less of a pain or hassle.
8.) You aren’t rinsing after brushing. Brush, floss, rinse. Brushing and flossing (when done right) loosen up the bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth. Rinsing afterwards with an alcohol-free mouthwash will wash the bacteria and plaque away. If you don’t have mouthwash, rinsing with water is better than nothing.