Taking steps to protect your teeth is crucial to preventing issues with your oral health later on. However, there’s more to a dental routine than brushing every day and surprisingly, there may well be several common mistakes you are making with your dental routine.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to improve your dental routine and introduce new habits. Understanding the mistakes in your dental routine will allow you to effectively change your routine and make necessary improvements. This can go a long way towards protecting your teeth and preventing issues from occurring with your oral health.
In this guide, we talk you through a few of the most common mistakes in your dental routine that you need to be aware of.
Brushing Once a Day
Very few patients have an understanding that brushing once a day is effective enough to keep the teeth and mouth clean, however, this is not true. Bacteria can build up on the teeth as we sleep, which is why it’s crucial to brush as soon as you wake up.
This is why it’s important to brush in the evening before you go to bed in order to remove bacteria, plaque and food debris that has built up throughout the day.
Time Spent Brushing
It takes at least two minutes to effectively brush and remove debris, plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of the teeth. With that being said, many patients admit to brushing for less than two minutes, meaning that various spots are being missed and not brushed as well as they should be.
To ensure you brush for two minutes, you can set a timer or buy an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer that alerts you when the two minutes is up.
Missing Parts of Your Mouth
If your brush has a built-in timer, try to use this as a guide of where you should be brushing. Most modern electric toothbrushes will buzz every 30 seconds, meaning that you can cover all four corners of the mouth in two minutes if you change sections every 15 seconds.
There’s more to brushing than just brushing your teeth. It’s crucial to not neglect the gums and tongue, as these can be breeding grounds for plaque and bacteria.
Brushing After Breakfast
Though it might make more sense to brush your teeth soon after having breakfast, this can actually do more harm than good. The layer of enamel that protects the teeth can soften when we eat. If we brush just after eating, we can damage the softened enamel.
Instead, brush after waking up to rid the mouth of bacteria and plaque that has accumulated overnight, then have your breakfast after brushing. If you do decide to brush after eating, it’s important that you wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth.
Changing Your Toothbrush (or Toothbrush Head)
Worn toothbrushes can be ineffective in keeping the teeth clean, particularly sooner if you tend to brush with force or aggression – which many patients do out of habit!
You should change your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) every three to four months, or as soon as you notice the bristles beginning to wear.
Brushing Too Aggressively
As we mentioned above, brushing too aggressively can wear out your toothbrush much quicker, as well as inflict damage to your teeth and gums. While you may think that brushing harder will result in cleaner teeth, this is very inaccurate.
Brushing too aggressively and with too much force can damage your enamel and weaken the teeth. You may also experience bleeding gums.
Storing Toothbrush Incorrectly
Most of us will store our toothbrushes in a toothbrush pot on a shelf or the bathroom sink. The bathroom can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so you may want to keep your toothbrush out of the way.
With that being said, your toothbrush will need to be stored upright to allow it to dry without the risk of bacteria growing, so try to avoid keeping it in an enclosed drawer or laying on its side.
Forgetting to Floss
There are certain areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush, and can only be removed if you floss every day. For this reason, it’s crucial that you floss every day to remove debris and plaque that otherwise cannot be removed with brushing.
Using Non-Fluoride Products
When buying toothpaste, you might not necessarily be looking out for the fluoride concentrations, and instead might seek out the most affordable option in the supermarket.
With that being said, it’s important to choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride in order to create a protective barrier around the enamel of the teeth. This gives you protection when consuming foods and drinks throughout the day, so you’ll probably want to avoid rinsing your mouth after brushing with fluoride toothpaste!
Avoiding the Dentist
Visiting the dentist on a regular basis will keep your teeth in check and reduce the likelihood of dental issues later down the line. You should ideally go to the dentist every six months, although this may be more frequent if you are at a higher risk of dental issues.
If you want to know more about teeth brushing, make sure you ask your local St Helier dentist during a routine dental check-up at our surgery. Alternatively, you can contact us if you have any more queries – our friendly team would be happy to help.