According to the Internet (and to Dr. Marchbanks, here to tell you how it really is), there are a plethora of ways to make mistakes when brushing your teeth. Putting that toothbrush in your mouth at the very least is a step in the right direction, so don’t feel bad if you’re a “consistent-but-bad” brusher. But if you’re reading this, you might already suspect that you’re not doing it all to perfection.
Read on to see how to keep heading in the right direction to teeth brushing like a pro.
#1 Using your toothbrush for too long (time wise):
Yes, it IS possible to brush too long. Why? Two words: gum damage. Too much abrasion against the gums can lead to sensitivity and deterioration.
#2 Using your toothbrush too long (consumer wise):
Using your toothbrush longer than 3 months and not tossing it is TOO long. Make sure to replace it, or the bristles will be packed with exactly the bacteria you’re trying to brush off every day.
#3 Using wrong toothbrush:
Have you spoken with Dr. Marchbanks about what type of toothbrush is best for your teeth and gums? It’s worth asking at your next visit! You wouldn’t want to be using something with too firm of bristles—or not firm enough.
#4 Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing your teeth:
Did you know that when you rinse with water, it cuts down on the fluoride’s efficiency? Try to rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride, and wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking.
#5 Storing your toothbrush in the bathroom:
You want to keep your toothbrush clean? Imagine that! It should be no surprise that germs can grow on the brush you’re using to clean AWAY those same germs. Clean your brush thoroughly with water when you’re finished with it each day. And then, store the brush in a cabinet or a cup with a cap around the bristles.
#6 Not flossing:
Calcified deposits develop in those crevices that the toothbrush won’t reach. The plaque needs to be removed, so find a time of day that works to get your flossing in if you’re so convinced there isn’t time when you brush. If it helps, remember that statistics have shown a correlation with people who floss being more successful. We can buy into that.
#7 Forgetting the tongue:
There are bacteria crawling all over your tongue, too—which is also one of the biggest culprits of bad breath. Some toothbrushes come with a tongue scraper on the opposite side. It might feel strange at first, but nothing beats fresh breath and a healthy, clean and pink tongue (especially in time for mistletoe).
#8 Incorrect techniques or motions:
Be sure not to start in the same place each time you move in to brush. Brush in circular motions, and make sure you’re reaching those molars. Don’t just brush back and forth, either. And finally, make contact with both the teeth and gum lines!
#9 Brushing your teeth more than twice a day:
You really only need to brush twice a day. Any more than that, and we approach “brushing too long” again.
#10 Wait 30 minutes after a meal to brush your teeth:
Once upon a time, there was a girl who would brush her teeth immediately after a meal so she wouldn’t eat any more—and, for some reason, she developed sensitive gums. Why? Brushing your teeth straight after a meal can actually damage your teeth, since the pH-level in your mouth is lower than normal, making brushing overly-abrasive with higher levels of acid.