Family dentistry experts can tell you how poor brushing habits lead to tooth decay and serious gum disease. It’s something dental care professionals see every day. Brushing your teeth regularly is essential, but it must be done correctly to be truly effective. To ensure your mouth stays healthy, avoid making these common mistakes.
Top 10 Tooth Brushing Mistakes
- Incorrect brushing techniques. Use circular or vertical strokes to remove plaque. Don’t brush across your teeth, and be sure to brush all tooth surfaces and your tongue.
- Choosing the wrong toothbrush. Your toothbrush should fit easily in your mouth and reach all of your teeth.
- Using hard bristles. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can damage tooth enamel. Choose a soft-bristled brush and use the proper brushing technique to thoroughly clean your teeth.
- Not brushing often enough or long enough. You should brush at least twice a day and for two full minutes each time to remove plaque and bacteria effectively.
- Brushing too often or too hard. Either can damage your gum tissue and tooth enamel. Brush no more than three times a day, and be gentle.
- Forgetting to brush the inner surfaces of teeth. The inner surfaces of the lower front teeth are often overlooked.
- Starting in the same place every time you brush. This may tempt you to spend less time or effort on the last area you brush.
- Not rinsing your brush after you use it. If you don’t, bacteria will grow on the bristles, and you will reintroduce it into your mouth the next time you brush.
- Allowing your toothbrush to remain wet. Letting your toothbrush remain wet between brushings will lead to bacterial and fungal growth. If you cover your brush, be sure the cap allows air to reach the bristles.
- Not replacing your old toothbrush. When bristles are worn, your brushing routine will be inefficient. Replace your brush at least every three months—or sooner if signs of wear appear.