Brushing and flossing your teeth has many benefits. While its main purpose is to remove food before it hardens into cavity-causing plaque, brushing your teeth can also reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth staining. Unfortunately, most people are not entirely sure how to brush properly. This guide and your dentist will help you avoid a few common tooth-brushing mistakes.
Not Brushing Enough/Brushing Too Much
Without brushing enough, food, plaque, and bacteria will build up on your teeth and gums, leading to decay and gum disease. If you brush too frequently, you could damage tooth enamel and irritate your gum tissue. Knowing when to brush is one of the most confusing elements of oral hygiene for most people.
Today, most dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. If necessary, set a timer on a clock or your smartphone to ensure you are brushing long enough to remove all residue from your teeth and gums.
Using the Wrong Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Another mistake you should stop involves the tools you use when brushing your teeth.
Make sure you are only brushing your teeth and gums with a toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association. This ensures the toothpaste contains fluoride, which helps strengthen your tooth enamel, decreasing your risk of cavities and decay.
It is also important to remember that all toothbrushes are not created equal. Avoid using a toothbrush with hard bristles, since these can be too harsh for your tooth enamel and gums. Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can also be uncomfortable if you are missing enamel or have sensitive teeth.
Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush for the best results when brushing. Also, be sure to replace your toothbrush when it shows signs of wear. On average, you should replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
Not Brushing Your Gums/Tongue
Because of its name, you may think you should only use a toothbrush on your teeth, but your teeth are not the only parts of the mouth that have food and other residue built up.
While brushing, make sure to focus on your gums and tongue. A great deal of food and bacteria linger on both your gum tissue and tongue, so brushing these areas with the right toothbrush and toothpaste is smart for your oral health, too.
Proper brushing is key to the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. For more information on brushing and other dental care tips, visit your dentist today.