We all care about the long-term health of our teeth. In our busy lives, however, it is easy to make mistakes in our regular at-home dental hygiene routine that may be causing long-term detriment to our mouth. When our hygiene routine is in error, cavities and gum disease gain the potential to wreak havoc on our oral health, which costs us greatly in pain and treatment.
To minimize these potential problems, here are three of the most common dental hygiene mistakes people make and how to remedy them:
1 – Not Spending Enough Time Brushing
Most dentists agree that proper brushing takes at least two minutes per session and that you should brush your teeth at least twice per day. Most people don’t even come close to brushing for two minutes, however. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, however, the average adult only spends 45 to 70 seconds per day total brushing their teeth. The simple mistake of rushing through this task adds up over time. If you don’t brush your teeth for enough time each session, you may not be affecting their surface and getting your teeth clean enough, which can leave behind detrimental bacteria on the teeth, causing decay and gum problems. To help remedy this issue, consider purchasing a brushing timer, or use a timer app on your phone to ensure you get at least two minutes of brushing in each session. Spending enough time getting your teeth clean each time you brush can have a significant impact on your overall oral health over time.
2- Skimping on Flossing
Although flossing is significant and critical to overall oral health, it is found that only four of 10 Americans floss at least once a day, and 20 percent never floss. In fact, it has been studied that 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss. While that is a humorous comparison, it does indicate the lack of commitment to flossing that can make a long-term impact on your dental health. Flossing is a critical aspect of your at-home dental health routine, however, as it reduces bacteria hiding in between the teeth and gum line. If you don’t floss, you’ll miss cleaning about 40% of your tooth surface. While it may seem challenging to maintain, it is a simple truth: When you make flossing a priority and do it properly (take time to curve the floss around each tooth and go down to the gum line as well), you reduce the risk of periodontal disease and early tooth loss.
3 – Harsh Brushing
Although brushing in and of itself is important, it is also just as important to brush properly and with the correct toothbrush. Many people make the mistake of using a toothbrush that is too hard on the teeth and gums as well as applying too much pressure while brushing. When teeth and gums are brushed too harshly, there is a significant increase in the likelihood of gum recession, even if the gums are healthy. As the tooth area above the gum line is less resistant to decay, when unnecessarily exposed by harsh brushing, numerous problems can ensue. To minimize the effects of harsh brushing, avoid brushes with hard bristles, opting for soft to medium bristles instead. As well, if you are concerned you are using too much pressure, consider brushing with your non-dominant hand. You may be surprised at how much pressure you were actually applying during the brushing process!
We hope that you are encouraged in the fact that just a few small tweaks to your dental health routine can make a significant impact in your oral health. Simple changes can make it possible to keep your teeth for a lifetime. We at River Valley Smiles are here to partner with you in maximizing your efforts at home through regular dental cleanings, information and advice, and corrective care when necessary.