Brushing and flossing every day is the best way to maintain your oral health and protect your teeth against decay, and if you complete both of these steps at least twice a day, then you’re doing great! However, even people who practice proper oral care regimens don’t realize the simple mistakes they’re making that can counteract their effort to achieve a healthy mouth. Read about the most common mistakes people tend to make in their oral care routines and the easy fixes that can correct them.
The most common mistakes people make when brushing are simply not brushing long enough and brushing too hard. Many people think that if they’ve touched every tooth that brushing is over, but brushing for a full two minutes is the best way to get all of the teeth thoroughly cleaned each time. Setting a timer or playing a two-minute song in your head or on your phone while you brush can help break the habit of speed-brushing.
Brushing too hard is another mistake that can be damaging to your mouth because applying too much pressure is harsh on the gums. The best technique for brushing is to hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and use short, gentle strokes to clean the outer surfaces and inner surfaces of the teeth. If your gums still feel sore after brushing gently, you may be using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard and rigid. Use a soft-bristled brush, and if you still have sensitivity ask your dentist if there’s a brush better suited for you.
Caring for Your Brush
Brushing twice a day means your toothbrush takes some wear and tear and will need to be replaced. The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Some toothbrushes have a color feature that fades with usage, but the best indicator your brush needs to be replaced is frayed or broken bristles. If you notice these on the sides of your brush, start looking for a replacement.
The way you store a toothbrush has a great deal to do with how effective it is and how long it will last. Keeping a toothbrush in an enclosed space, especially if still wet, creates an environment where germs and bacteria can grow and multiply before the brush is used next. The best way to store a toothbrush is upright, like in a cup by the sink or on a hanging device that allows it to air dry.