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Avoid These 6 Common Brushing Mistakes

A beautiful smile is one of your most attractive traits, so keep your smile in tiptop shape by avoiding poor dental hygiene habits. Regular visits to the dentist are the best way to maintain a healthy smile, but proper dental hygiene starts at home. For instance, brushing your teeth is inarguably the most effective way to prevent tooth decay and avoid periodontitis, also known as gum disease. Not everyone knows how to brush their teeth well, however.

To ensure your teeth are as white and bright as possible, avoid these six common brushing mistakes as explained by the Orlando dentists at Thornton Park Dental Arts.

For help achieving a whiter, brighter smile, contact our office to schedule a dental appointment.

Woman Brushing Her Teeth

Poor Brushing Technique

Brushing your teeth isn’t just about scrubbing your teeth for 45 seconds and calling it a day. Learning how to brush your teeth correctly is key to a cleaner mouth and can help you prevent cavities and tooth decay. There are five steps patients should follow to ensure they are properly cleaning their teeth.

  1. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush.
  2. Aim the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line.
  3. Brush in a gentle circular motion and repeat this motion throughout the inside of your mouth.
  4. Use a light back-and-forth motion on the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  5. Spit out the leftover toothpaste, but don’t rinse with water! — doing so washes out the fluoride left by the toothpaste which helps prevent tooth damage.

Using A Toothbrush For Too Long

Toothbrushes aren’t meant to be permanent — after 200 uses, the bristles become worn and frayed. Most toothbrushes have an approximate 3-month lifespan. Patients should change out their toothbrushes when they first notice bristles starting to fray. When bristles are worn, they can’t reach tiny gaps in the teeth, leaving plaque inside the mouth which could then harden and become tartar. Bacteria and food particles also build up on the toothbrush if it’s too old.

Not Cleaning Your Tongue

Bacteria are constantly living on your tongue — the kind that causes bad breath. When brushing your teeth, be sure to spend time scraping residual bacteria from your tongue with either a separate tongue scraper or a tongue scraper attached to a toothbrush. For patients with a regular toothbrush, the best way to thoroughly clean the tongue is to position a soft-bristled toothbrush at the back of the tongue and lightly brush forward and backward.

Not Using Dental Floss

While technically not a brushing mistake, not flossing every day can be detrimental to a patient’s oral health. As hard as you try, a toothbrush can’t reach every nook and cranny in your mouth where plaque can build up. Plaque build-up can transform into serious dental problems, such as gum inflammation and root canals. Any type of floss is great, but for the best results, disposable flossing sticks are easier to grip and can get into harder-to-reach places.

Brushing Too Soon After A Meal

Most people don't wait after eating an acidic meal to brush their teeth — desperate to get the onion and garlic taste out of their mouth. However, after eating, the pH levels in the mouth drop and acid content in saliva increases. Brushing your teeth soon after eating can rub these acids deeper into the enamel of your teeth and cause further damage. Patients should wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to brush their teeth. During a teeth cleaning, our dentists can remove any missed plaque.

Not Brushing For Long Enough

Our lives are hectic, but it’s time to dedicate the proper amount of time to teeth brushing. It’s essential to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Brushing less than this can result in a greater build-up of bacteria that is harmful to your oral health. Conversely, brushing more than three times a day can actually damage your gums and lead to enamel erosion.