Dental health routines are second nature. We wake up in the morning, grab our toothbrush and slather on some Colgate, without putting much thought into what we’re doing, or how we’re doing it. After all, you were probably so young when you learned how to brush your teeth that you don’t remember.
4 Tooth Brushing Mistakes
Brushing your teeth correctly is a vital part of keeping your teeth and gums in optimal shape. Even if you’ve had seemingly healthy teeth your whole life, chances are you fall prey to some of these brushing mistakes. Here are the most common teeth brushing mistakes – cut these out of your routine, and you’ll see healthier teeth and gums in no time:
- Not replacing your toothbrush enough. Life gets busy, and it’s hard to find the time to remember to replace your toothbrush. If you’re brushing your teeth at least twice a day for seven days a week, the average life expectancy of your toothbrush is about 3 months. No, this doesn’t mean you should brush less frequently, so your toothbrush lasts longer.Instead, you should replace your toothbrush every 200 uses, or when your bristles begin to look like Guy Fieri’s hair. When your toothbrush bristles get frayed and inflexible, they won’t be able to clean your mouth efficiently. Not to mention, bacteria and food will start to hang out in your old toothbrush bristles, making it a moot point to brush with a dirty brush. Instead, make sure you’re changing it every 3 months. You should be changing your electric toothbrush head this often, as well.
- Turning your brushing session into a quickie. Studies show that the average person only brushes their teeth for 45 seconds. The recommended amount of time to brush is at least 2 minutes each time. If you get bored while brushing, you can divide and conquer by brushing each 4 sections of your mouth for 30 seconds at a time. You can also watch TV or listen to music to make your brushing seem shorter.If the reason you’re not brushing for two whole minutes is because you are pressed for time in the morning or at night, then you need to make sure you’re making time. Think about all the time you’ll save not getting cavities filled just by keeping your teeth in good shape. If you’re still brushing with a traditional brush, you should set a timer on your phone, or switch to an electric toothbrush. Most electric toothbrushes have built in timers that cut off after your 2 minutes is up. The fluoride in your toothpaste needs at least 2 minutes to attach and strengthen the enamel in your teeth.
- Storing Your Toothbrush in the Open Bathroom. This might sound like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people stash their toothbrush in a jar over the toilet. There are multiple stories that show toothbrushes basically turn into petri dishes, when they’re stored in the bathroom. Some toothbrush samples have even found human feces. Instead, you should put a lid over your toothbrush container or store it in a medicine cabinet. If you have an electric toothbrush, you should think about getting a sanitizing system to keep your toothbrush free of germs. Don’t forget to close your toilet seat lid before flushing.
- Not brushing your tongue. Sometimes it’s easy to forget your tongue, when you’re focused on keeping your teeth and gums clean. However, brushing your tongue is important for getting rid of bad breath and bacteria. Plus, if you drink coffee or wine, you don’t want a nasty stained tongue. But the real truth of the matter is that your tongue is filled with nooks and crannies that bacteria love to hide out in, so it’s important to brush and make sure your tongue is bacteria free.
If you’re worried that you might not be brushing your teeth correctly, ask your dentist for a critique. Tell them when and how you brush your teeth, and they’ll give you pointers to make you more effective. Proper dental hygiene habits can be hard to establish, especially if you’ve already established bad habits. With a little tenacity, you’ll have your teeth and gums in exceptional shape. Oh, and don’t forget to floss! But, we’ll talk more about proper flossing next time.