The act of brushing your teeth has probably become a subconscious habit since you were a kid. It’s drilled into us at a young age that we need to brush morning and night. For this reason, we’re usually on autopilot when we pick up our toothbrush and are more likely to make some mistakes. We take a look at 5 common mistakes people make when brushing their teeth.
The importance of brushing your teeth
It may seem simple and mundane but brushing your teeth twice a day has many benefits to your oral health. The World Health Organisation reported that 3.5 million people are affected by oral disease and severe gum disease resulting in tooth loss accounts for 10% of the population. The Journal of Prevention in Clinical Oral Health Care states that brushing your teeth is key to decreasing the risk of many of these diseases. This is because there are more than 700 bacterial species including viruses, fungi and transient microorganisms that thrive in your mouth. You may think your teeth brushing habits are fine, but chances are you’re guilty of one of the 5 common teeth brushing mistakes.
1. Brushing your teeth for less than 2 minutes
We understand that a busy schedule can make you feel rushed in the morning, but putting time aside for the health of your teeth is a worthy investment. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) outlines that you need to brush for 2 minutes twice a day.
An In Vivo study found that the average time spent brushing is just 45 seconds and proved that brushing for 2 minutes improved the removal of plaque by 26% percent. We suggest finding a 2 minute video or song to listen the next time you brush and challenge yourself to make this a daily habit.
2. Brushing too hard
You could be doing too much of a good thing. A common misconception is that brushing your teeth hard will remove more plaque and therefore make your teeth whiter or healthier. You can do a lot of irreversible damage if you’re being too enthusiastic.
The ADA warns that brushing too hard leads to enamel wear and serious conditions such as receding gums. If you notice your bristles are frayed, there’s a good chance that you’re applying too much pressure. Swap out your regular toothbrush for one that has soft bristles, the bristles alone act to remove the necessary bacteria build up so there’s no need to add extra force.
3. Missing the back of your teeth
It’s very easy to focus your attention on the parts of your teeth that are the most visible but if you’ve ever been to the dentist and had the plaque scraped off the backs of your teeth, it’s time to rethink your technique.
The inner sides of your teeth are just as important as the outer sides when it comes to avoiding plaque. The Oral Health Foundation confirms that plaque build up will lead to cavities, gum disease and in severe cases, tooth loss. Manoeuvring your brush so that you can reach the backs of your teeth will help your overall oral health.
4. Using the same toothbrush for longer than 3 months
Don’t be afraid to change your toothbrush regularly. According to The Journal of Advanced Medical and Dental Science the toothbrush sitting in your bathroom right now would have 10 million bacteria on it. By using your brush for prolonged periods, you could be introducing more bacteria to your mouth rather than cleaning it out.
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of replacing your toothbrush too often, you can find replaceable heads or opt for a bamboo toothbrush. Dentists suggest replacing your toothbrush every 3 months.
5. Missing your tongue
Forgetting to brush the bacteria off your tongue and cheeks is one of the most frequent teeth brushing mistakes. Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is caused by the buildup of bacteria mostly on the inner sides of your cheeks and tongue. By cleaning this off, it won’t only reduce bad breath, it will reduce the risk of gum disease.
You should focus light strokes on your tongue from back to front and side to side, rinse out the excess saliva and wash your toothbrush with warm water. It’s recommended to clean your tongue and cheeks at least twice a day so you can easily add this into your brushing routine.
Are you brushing the right way?
If you’re brushing your teeth twice a day then you’re already halfway there. It’s time to add in some teeth brushing tips to get the most out of your oral care routine. Ensure you’re brushing with a toothpaste that holds minerals for strengthening and cleaning your teeth. The Day and Night Toothpaste includes Bentonite Clay as a mineral-rich substance that helps to remove plaque.
By avoiding these 5 common tooth brushing mistakes, you can ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance at preventing gum disease and plaque.