5 Mistakes You’re Making When Brushing Your Teeth

5 Mistakes You’re Making When Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is a simple part of your everyday process – or at least it should be. I’m choosing to ignore recent statistics from the Australian Dental Association that say almost one in two people don’t brush their teeth twice a day. Instead, let’s focus on some tips and habits you need to break that come straight from the mouths of top dentists.

Mistakes you’re making when brushing your teeth

Using a hard toothbrush

When brushing your teeth, opting for a soft-bristled brush is always best. According to the ADA, “It’s less wear and tear on tooth enamel and gums.”

You also only need to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and apply a light touch when brushing so you can minimise the wearing away of enamel.

“Electric toothbrushes often have a pressure sensor which can prevent too much force from being applied. You’ll know if you’ve been using too much force because your teeth will appear more yellow.”

Ensure you’re brushing for a full two minutes and spend time cleaning your mouth, gums and tongue. Also, beware of rinsing your mouth out.

If you need additional tips on how to brush effectively, here’s a video that will help.

Brushing less than twice a day

I don’t know about you, but I was always raised to brush my teeth twice a day. Apparently, not enough of us are doing that, so here are some tips to help.

The ADA recommends you brush in the morning after breakfast and before bed. “Saliva flow is lower overnight, so brushing just before sleep helps protect teeth from residual bacteria.”

You also shouldn’t brush too much:

“Just as brushing infrequently or only once a day could harm your oral health, so too does brushing too much, particularly if you apply too much pressure or don’t wait long enough after eating. Stick to twice a day for optimum oral health.”

Brushing too soon

rinse brush teeth
Image: iStock

Another common tooth-brushing mistake you might be making is brushing too soon.

The ADA recommends you wait an hour after eating before brushing to allow your tooth enamel to harden. If not, you could damage enamel that has been softened by food acids.

If you can’t get to a toothbrush after eating, they recommend rinsing your mouth out with water to help flush away food particles until you can access one.

Not flossing

Plenty of us are guilty of this one: forgetting to floss.

According to the ADA, brushing only reaches 60 per cent of tooth surfaces. You need to floss if you want to reach all the bacteria stuck between your teeth. If left untouched, you could be hit with a nasty case of tooth decay or gum disease.

While flossing tape is the most common method, supermarkets also sell products like interdental brushes, water flossers and disposable flossettes that will help you clean between your teeth.

Additionally, if you choose not to floss because you’re worried it’s hurting your gums, this is apparently quite normal.

“Many people attribute bleeding gums to their flossing. But once you start flossing for the first time, this should disappear after about a week. After that, gums will only repeatedly bleed if bacteria has built up over time and inflammation is present – or you’re flossing with too much force!”

Flossing after brushing

I’ll admit to not knowing this one, but apparently, you should actually be flossing before brushing your teeth, not after.

“Floss before brushing so the toothbrush can better reach those gaps and corners between teeth and help fluoride reach these surfaces.”

Who knew?

Hopefully, some of these tips help you break those bad habits and result in a less disapproving session with your dentist.

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