Poor dental hygiene is a plague nationwide, and we think it’s safe to say we’re over those. There are plenty of lists out there with tips for stronger teeth, including everything from basic brushing to using mouthwash and fluoride products to strengthen your pearly whites. We think it’s equally important to know the dental hygiene mistakes—the don’ts as well as the dos—so you know how best to protect and preserve your smile.
Inadequate Time Spent on Brushing
A common dental hygiene mistake is to spend insufficient time brushing your teeth. Plaque and other buildup are tough little troublemakers, so experts recommend at least two minutes to successfully brush them off. If you need to hum Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to fill the time, hey, whatever works.
Brushing Immediately After Eating
Eating acidic foods has the tendency to temporarily soften the enamel that coats and protects your teeth. Because of this, brushing your teeth immediately after eating is a dental hygiene mistake. Instead, allow 30 to 60 minutes after you’ve finished eating before you brush your teeth to make sure you are not also brushing off precious enamel.
Brushing Too Hard
While you want to be firm in taking the plaque off your teeth, you should also remember that being too rough can damage your enamel (the layer that protects your teeth). To maintain good oral hygiene, brush gently but consistently. Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and decide whether an electric or manual toothbrush will give you the right amount of pressure during your brushing routine.
Brushing Only Once a Day
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when brushing is to only do so at night. Bacteria grow rapidly, more rapidly than we sometimes think. Thwart the bugs before they build up by brushing at least twice a day, in the morning and before you go to bed.
Starting at the Same Position
The problem with starting at the same place each time you brush your teeth is that other areas of your mouth are unconsciously neglected. An uneven brush job disproportionately cleans your teeth. This leaves healthy teeth in the places you spend the most time brushing but doesn’t fully remove bacteria and plaque in the other areas. Don’t make this dental hygiene mistake—give all your teeth equal time.
Focus Only On Your Teeth
Everything that happens in your mouth affects your teeth. This means that when taking care of your teeth, you need to consider your gums and tongue as well. Brush these as thoroughly as you do your teeth for optimal dental hygiene.
Say it with us: flossing is essential! The only way to remove particles and buildup from the tricky-to-reach places in your mouth is to floss, floss, floss. Mouthwash is not a substitute for thorough flossing. Choosing not to floss is inviting debris to an extended stay nestled in your smile, like the worst kind of houseguests that leave holes in the walls. Skipping the floss is not just a dental hygiene mistake—it leads to further oral damage.
If your gums bleed when you floss, don’t panic or toss the floss. Bleeding during flossing is an indication of weak or unhealthy gums. The more consistently you floss, the stronger your gums will become and the less they will bleed.
Storing Your Toothbrush Incorrectly
Managing dental hygiene doesn’t stop when the toothbrush leaves your mouth. Once your toothbrush has been thoroughly rinsed, the way that you store it actually has bearing on how clean it will be the next time you use it. Keeping it upright allows excess water to run off, taking with it potentially harmful bacteria. Most importantly, though, your toothbrush should not be kept on the counter, at least not if it is in the same room as your toilet. Without too much detail, if you don’t want what’s in the toilet to get on your toothbrush, store that toothbrush behind a closed cabinet door.
Not Changing Your Toothbrush Regularly
Unfortunately, the bristles of a toothbrush are a great place for bacteria and other bugs to hide. To use the same toothbrush for too long is a common dental hygiene mistake. Traditional toothbrushes or toothbrush heads should be replaced every 3 to 4 months.
Eating Too Much Sugar
If you feel energized after eating a snickerdoodle, imagine what bacteria can do with that energy. Cutting back on sugar doesn’t just look great on your Instagram posts about healthy eating; it also limits the energy source of the bacteria that buildup on your teeth. Win-win we say.
Avoiding the Dentist
If you only visit the dentist when you’re in pain, you’re doing your teeth a disservice. While your dentist can correct glaring problems like cavities, the kind of regular care a dentist offers is tremendously beneficial to keeping your teeth healthy and strong. Dentists can make sure your teeth are clean to an extent you can’t manage at home, they can check your alignment, and they give you a free toothbrush. What more could you want? Beware this dental hygiene mistake and come visit us at Covington Dental Arts and Wellness.
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