When was the last time you thought about your own tooth-brushing habits? If you're like most people, you probably don't think much about your brushing routine. More than likely, you've been following the same tooth-brushing and oral health habits more-or-less since you were a child. What you might not realize, however, is that common tooth-brushing mistakes can make you more prone to serious dental health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.
The good news is that if you're making any of these common tooth-brushing mistakes, they're easy to remedy.
Not Brushing Long Enough
If you're already pressed for time when you get ready in the mornings, there's a good chance you rush through the process of brushing your teeth from time to time. Ideally, you should spend at least a couple of minutes brushing your teeth in order to do a thorough job. Try timing yourself the next time you brush and you may be surprised at just how much you've been rushing through it. To extend your brushing time, try brushing each section of your mouth for 30 seconds at a time; use your phone to set a timer if needed.
Brushing Too Hard
While brushing too lightly is obviously a problem because you might not be brushing away plaque, brushing too hard can also be an issue. Aggressive brushing can wear away the protective enamel on your teeth, which may make you more prone to cavities. Rough brushing can also be harmful to your gums and may cause bleeding and inflammation, so take it easy and brush in firm, circular strokes for best results.
Using an Old Toothbrush
When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? If it's been more than a few months, you may be using a toothbrush that's full of bacteria. Older toothbrushes also tend to have frayed bristles that won't be as effective at removing plaque, so be sure to change yours frequently. It's also a good idea to switch to a new toothbrush after you've recently gotten over a contagious illness, as this can help you avoid catching the same thing again.
There are plenty of mistakes you can make when brushing your teeth, but these are a few of the more avoidable, negative brushing habits. Be careful to avoid these mistakes and stay on top of basic dental care services (including regular exams, X-rays, and cleanings) to protect your teeth.