Common brushing mistakes you tend to make

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Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

November 3, 2020

Brushing our teeth is the first thing we do in the morning and the last thing we do before going to bed at night. Since brushing is the foundation of a good oral hygiene routine, an average person spends around 82 days brushing teeth, in their lifetime. Not to mention the amount of money and time that we spend on maintaining our oral hygiene.

But did you know that brushing incorrectly can cause more damage than good? All of our time, money, and efforts go down the drain if we commit these common mistakes while brushing-

Hard brushes are harsh on your teeth

It’s a myth that harder bristled brushes clean more effectively. Hard brushes are meant for people with perfect teeth and brushing habits. Overzealous uses of hard brushes cause loss of enamel and gum damage. So stick to a soft or medium bristle brush.

Fast and furious brushing

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In this one-click world, does brushing teeth for more than 30 sec feels like a waste of time? Well, your teeth need to deserve at least 2 minutes of your time, twice a day to stay healthy. Brush aggressively will erode your enamel, no matter how soft or expensive your brush. Similarly brushing fast and calling it day will not clean your teeth and lead to mistakes. So be gentle and brush for 2 minutes.

Wrong brushing method will wrong your teeth

Brushing from side to side or horizontally is the most common and wrong way of brushing. It only spread germs from one tooth to another. Place your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, then move your brush in small circular strokes and then sweep away from the tooth. So use small sweeping strokes to clean your teeth and gently massage your gums.

Forgetting your inner teeth surfaces

The world sees the front of your teeth, but your body sees the back. Brushing your teeth only from the front will leave your inner tooth surfaces vulnerable to cavities and considered brushing mistakes. The back surfaces tend to accumulate a lot of food debris and bacteria on the account of being ignored. So brush the front, back as well as chewing surfaces of your teeth to avoid cavities.

A wet toothbrush is an open buffet for bacteria

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Almost all of us are guilty of dumping our just used toothbrushes into our cabinets. Wet toothbrushes are bacteria magnets and the dark warm conditions of your cabinets will encourage bacterial growth. Allow your toothbrush to air dry completely before storing it away. Once they dry, keep them away from damp sink counters.

Brushing too often is just as bad

Overdoing is always overkilling. Just like brushing too little is harmful, brushing too much is also just as bad. Do not brush your teeth after every meal thinking that it will avoid cavities. It in reality will weaken your enamel. So stick to brushing well, just twice a day.

Not rinsing after brushing

Do you just spit out the paste after brushing and sit down to have breakfast? Rinsing well after brushing is a must to expel all the dislodged bacteria and food debris from your mouth. Fluoride-the anti-cavity component of your toothpaste needs some time to work in your mouth after use. So rinse well and do not have anything for half an hour after brushing your teeth.

Forgetting to floss

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When was the last time you flossed like a boss? Brushing is just one-half of a good oral hygiene routine. Flossing is important to remove all the food stuck in between your teeth. Our interdental area is the prime cavity-causing location of our teeth with about 1/3 of all the cavities starting there. So floss regularly to avoid cavities.

Ignoring your tongue

Do you brush well but still have a stinky breath? A dirty tongue is the cause of the mouth odor in about 45% of the cases. Our tongue hoards a lot of bacteria and small food debris under its rough surface and requires regular cleaning. So clean your tongue well with a tongue cleaner or simply use your brush to clean it.

Using a frayed brush

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Do you remember the last time you changed your brush? A frayed brush is ineffective in cleaning your teeth and will do more harm than good. The frayed bristles not only damage your enamel but also cut into your gums and damage them. So replace your brush regularly every 3 months.

Using whitening/anti sensitivity toothpastes for long

Are you still using an anti-sensitivity or whitening toothpaste that your dentist prescribed 2 years ago? Then you are damaging your teeth. These kinds of toothpaste are meant to be only for a short period of time.

Sensitivity toothpaste only masks the symptoms and does not cure the underlying causes like decay, bone loss, or gum damage. So long-term use will not do you any good. Whitening toothpastes are meant to be used under supervision. Prolonged use of these strong, specialized ingredients will irritate your gums and weaken teeth in the long run. A good toothpaste only needs fluoride (1000ppm) which protects your teeth from cavities and keeps your mouth healthy.

So remember that dentistry is not expensive, ignorance is; so brush right and save not just your teeth, but your money time, and effort. Visit your dentist every 6 months to catch and treat dental problems early. And do not repeat these brushing mistakes.

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Dr. Apurva Chavan is a dentist by the day and a voracious reader and writer by the night. She loves to fix smiles and tries to keep all her procedures as pain free as possible. Equipped with over 5 years of experience she loves to not just treat her patients but also educate them about dental hygiene and appropriate maintanence routines. After a long day of preserving smiles she loves to curl up with a good book or pen down some of life’s musings. She strongly belives that learning never stops and likes to keep her self updates with all the latest dental news and research.
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