You know that brushing your teeth at least twice a day is imperative to good oral health. And you probably know that using a good toothbrush is almost as important as the act of brushing itself. But did you know that there are a number of very common mistakes that many people make when brushing their teeth? These mistakes can limit the effectiveness of brushing, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems.
Here at River Valley Smiles, we want our patients to be educated as to the proper way to engage in oral hygiene practices. So we’ve put together a short list of common mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.
Short-changing the Time
While most adults know they should brush for two minutes, very few of them do. Here’s the thing, though: most of them actually believe they are brushing for the full time. It just seems like two minutes have gone by, when in reality most adults brush for around 45 seconds.
The best way to address this is to set a timer for two minutes, or glance at the clock before you begin. If you use the latter method, it’s best to shoot for three minutes to be sure you’re actually getting the full two minutes.
Using the Wrong Angle
The head of the toothbrush should be angled slightly up (or down) towards the gum line. This helps the bristles to get all the way down to the surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, far too many people hold the toothbrush in such a way as to meet the tooth at a 90-degree angle (you should be using a 45-degree angle).
Using Too Much Pressure
Most people think that when it comes to brushing, harder is better. After all, when you scrub dishes, you get the dirt off by applying pressure, right? The thing is, this is wrong. Brushing your teeth too hard can actually lead to tooth and gum damage. While you can scrub the chewing surfaces as hard as you wish to, on the sides of the teeth you should be delicate. Ease off on the pressure just a bit—you’ll still notice your teeth have that smooth, clean feeling, and you’ll be saving yourself trouble down the road.
Questions? Ask Us!
We want to be sure you know exactly what you should—and should not—be doing when you brush. If you have any questions about your tooth brushing technique, please make sure to bring it up the next time you come see us.