Are you the type of person who flosses just once a week? Do you sometimes head to bed without brushing your teeth since you’ll be brushing them again in the morning? Do you swish with mouthwash? Having a good dental hygiene routine is the best way to ensure that your trips to the dentist don’t consist of anything more than a casual checkup. Brushing your teeth is, of course, the best way to keep your teeth clean during the day and overnight. However, many people brush too hard, use a brush with bristles too hard for their gums, or don’t change their toothbrush regularly. A good rule of thumb is to change your toothbrush every three months or so, to ensure that the bristles are in good enough shape to do their job. Brushing softly twice a day over each surface of your teeth and tongue will keep your gums healthy and keep plaque buildup down.
Flossing is one of the most skipped activities in a good dental hygiene routine, but it is very important. Flossing gets those hard-to-reach areas between teeth, where a toothbrush may or may not clean. Adding flossing to your daily routine will strengthen your gums and help prevent cavities. Finally, after brushing and flossing, swishing with mouthwash each day for 30-45 seconds is the best way to round out your routine. It may seem silly to reiterate these tips that everyone knows, but you’d be surprised at how quickly these activities fall out of dental hygiene routines after a visit to the dentist! Keeping up with a regular schedule is the best way to avoid cavities, yellowing teeth, or more serious issues. If it’s been a while, give us a call at 207-781-5900 to schedule an appointment today.
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.
According to researchers, only 10 percent of the population brushes their teeth correctly. Let’s improve the score in Maine! Below are Falmouth Dental Arts’ top tips for brushing properly.
Top Brushing Tips:
- Use a smaller, rather than a larger toothbrush. Electric is best! The more comfortable the brush feels to you, the more likely you are to use it twice a day.
- A soft-bristled brush (and a gentle hand) is best, as it will safe your sensitive gum tissue from being brushed away.
- Spend about two minutes brushing. Take your time and thoroughly, yet gently clean the top right, bottom right, top left and bottom left sections of your teeth.
- Holding your brush at a 45-degree angle will hit the high spots as well as the hard to reach ones, such as where tooth meets gum.
- Brush the inner surfaces of your teeth and your tongue for a thorough job.
- After brushing, be sure to rinse away all of the bacteria now floating around in your mouth. Rinse your toothbrush head as well.
- Change your toothbrush or brush head about every three months, or less if it begins to looked frayed. If it’s in bad shape, it won’t clean effectively.
- But before you begin brushing, make sure you floss! Flossing once a day helps keep bacteria from forming in those hard to reach places that are immune to brushes.
Find out even more about good brushing habits by visiting our website.
Would you like a one-on-one brushing demonstration? Just let your hygenist know during your next appointment, or call our office at 207.781.5900 to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help you help your teeth!