Toothbrushing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
It would seem a simple thing to know how to brush your teeth, but how many people actually do it right? We are given a toothbrush when we are young and told how to use it, but the importance of brushing the right way may not be passed on.
Pick the Right Toothbrush
Whether you use a power toothbrush or hold the toothbrush in your hand, it’s important that your toothbrush have soft bristles. The size of the brush head should fit comfortably in your mouth and the bristles should reach the gums on both sides. The main purpose of brushing your teeth is to remove bad bacteria and loosen plaque that can cause tooth decay. Stiff bristles used too vigorously can actually wear down the tooth structure.
Take It Easy
It isn’t necessary to scrub away on your teeth like you were cleaning the bathroom tile. Too much pressure isn’t good for your teeth and a gentle cleaning, or massaging the teeth, is very effective at removing bacteria and plaque. The trick is to brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
Replace a Worn-Out Brush
People hold onto toothbrushes too long, way after they should have been replaced. Find a brand you like and buy a two pack, so that when the bristles start to fray, as soft bristles will do, or it becomes discolored, you have a replacement ready. After using your last new brush, put toothbrushes on your shopping list and pick up another two-pack next time you shop. You will always have a fresh toothbrush on hand.
Going the Wrong Direction
Most of us brush side to side because it makes sense to wash the grime out of the gums, but the correct way is to brush in small circular, up and down motions. Bacteria settles where your teeth meet the gums and brushing side to side can force that bacteria down under the gum line. Better to sweep it up and away from the gums so it can be rinsed out of the mouth. Don’t forget to brush the backside of the teeth and your tongue too.
Wait a While After Eating
If you rush to brush your teeth immediately after eating, you will be adding an abrasive to the acid from your meal. Wait 15-20 minutes and give the saliva in your mouth time to neutralize most of the acid before brushing.