Oral hygiene should be an important part of every human routine. Part of good oral hygiene is brushing your teeth every morning and every evening. This will help get rid of food particles, plaque and debris from your teeth and help get rid of bacteria from your mouth.
Good oral health also affects your overall health. It helps protect your body from respiratory diseases, prevents stomach disorders, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke and improve cognitive functioning.
Even though brushing the teeth is a common task, you will be shocked to find that lots of people are not doing it right, maybe even you.
We make a lot of mistakes while brushing that may be affecting our oral health. We think you should be aware of these mistakes and try to avoid them.
Mistake #1: You May Be Using the Wrong Toothbrush
Toothbrushes come in varying sizes and some folks do not know what size to purchase. Some others do not even think about that. If you’re going to properly clean your teeth, you will need a toothbrush that is properly sized.
A toothbrush that is too big may make you strain your mouth to keep it open. One that is too small may make it impossible to clean your teeth properly.
How do you know one that is the right size? A toothbrush that feels comfortable in your mouth and hands and also reaches every part of your mouth is the right size.
There are electronic toothbrushes and manual ones. If you have pain in your hands, arms or shoulders or you suffer from arthritis, an electronic toothbrush is a good option.
Mistake #2: You’re Choosing the Wrong Bristles
Same way there are varying toothbrush sizes, there are also different bristles. The bristles could be round, angled, straight or zigzagged. According to dentists, it is always better to go for angled bristles as they will help get to all your teeth irrespective of their position.
You will also need to consider the quality of the bristles. A toothbrush with hard bristles are harmful and will likely cause recession, erode your dental enamel or irritate your gums.
It’s best to go for medium or soft bristles toothbrush.
Mistake #3: You Might Be Using the Wrong Brushing Technique
We brush our teeth, quite alright, but how many times do we give thought to the technique we use? Probably zilch. Below is a guideline prepared by the American Dental Association:
• Align the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line.
• Using short, gentle strokes, move the toothbrush back and forth around your teeth.
• Then brush circularly or vertically around the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of all your teeth.
• When done, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and prevent bad breath .
• Finish by rinsing your mouth thoroughly.
Mistake #4: Inadequate Brushing
If you’re going to have good oral health, you will have to brush at least twice a day. You could even brush thrice. Typically, after a meal, you should brush your teeth, and then in the morning too. This will help get rid of plaque and neutralize the pH of your mouth, making sure your teeth is healthy and shiny.
You must also brush for at least two minutes. To ensure you spend two minutes, divide your teeth into four parts and spend thirty minutes on each part (top right, top left, bottom right and bottom left)
Mistake #5: You Brush Way Too Frequently
We understand that oral hygiene is important but man, we don’t mean you should scrub your teeth all day long. Brushing more than thrice could cause harm to your teeth, gum line and hasten erosion of dental enamel.
Mistake #6: Starting at the Same Spot Each Time
Many people brush at the same spot. It’s a mistake that is so common. We bet you didn’t know what that for every time you start at the same spot, you typically get tired when your reach the last quadrant of your teeth. Proper cleaning can hardly be done that way.
Cleaning your teeth thoroughly would mean starting to brush at different places each time. That way, proper cleaning can be done.
Mistake #7: Ignoring the Inner Surfaces of the Teeth
Sometimes while brushing, we may get preoccupied and forget to brush those inner surfaces of the teeth. This build-up can result in plaques on the inner surface.
This could lead to damages .
It’s important that you don’t focus on just the front of your teeth when brushing. You should also brush the inner surfaces of your teeth.
Mistake #8: Not Rinsing Your Toothbrush After Use
Because we may be in a haste to leave the house in the morning or go to bed, we often will not take time to rinse our toothbrush properly after using it.
As a result, bacteria and food debris stick to the bristles and can lead to an infection or gum disease later on. Plus, it could make the bristles become hard.
So that you do not reintroduce bacteria or other germs into your mouth when you brush, it’s important to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use.
We suggest you hold the toothbrush beneath running tap water for a minute and then allow to air dry. This will get rid of unwanted particles and bacteria.
Mistake #9: You’re Storing Your Toothbrush Wet
Maybe you do take rinsing your toothbrush seriously after brushing, but what about putting it away when it’s wet?
By now, you know a moist environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. So when you store your bathroom damp and reuse, you introduce bacteria into your mouth and this will cause bad breath and otherwise gum disease.
To rectify this mistake, shake off the extra moisture and store it in a brush holder with a cap that lets air come in.
You could even dry out your toothbrush in the sun for a few minutes. Here’s a good idea : have two toothbrushes so that one is always dry.
Mistake #10: Not Replacing Your Old Toothbrush
Many of us use a toothbrush as long as we can. But this is a big mistake that you must avoid. After using a toothbrush for a few months, the bristles start bending and become frayed. A toothbrush in this condition will not clean your teeth properly. Dental experts recommend replacing a toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
Take a close look at your brush regularly and make sure the bristles are flexible and straight. If the bristles look frayed, change your toothbrush immediately.