Of course we all brush our teeth daily. But are we doing it right? Here are top mistakes to look out for, and fix if need be:
You‘re brushing only twice daily, or worse, once: From breakfast to dinner is a long gap of 14 hours, enough time for bacteria to build up. Brushing after lunch keeps those germs at bay.
You brush after every meal or snack: Well, there is such a thing as ‘too much brushing.’ Yes, bacteria does build up in the mouth after you eat, particularly after a sugary snack, but brushing immediately afterwards can cause tooth sensitivity, because the environment within is still acidic. A good, vigorous rinse with plain water is what you need. And 30 minutes after eating, go ahead and brush. But dentists warn that those who brush four times a day or more are in danger of exposing the root of the tooth and eroding the protective enamel.
You floss after brushing: This is not as effective as flossing before brushing, which opens up the gaps between teeth and allows the fluoride in your toothpaste to seep in better.
Your toothbrush has a large head: If so, it cannot reach the inner corners of the mouth, leaving you with lingering germs, bad breath, and eventually, tooth decay. Use a brush with a small head and soft to medium bristles for best results.
You brush in circular strokes: This no doubt cleans your teeth, but can also slowly erode your gums. The best way to hold your brush is at a 45-degree angle and brush up and down. Keep the pressure gentle; a death grip on the toothbrush is not needed. Stiff bristles and hard brushing can cause inflammation of the gums.
You rinse with mouthwash after brushing: Many of us do this thinking it leaves the mouth cleaner. The truth is, the mouthwash rinses away fluoride, which reinforces the surface of the tooth. So, use mouthwash at least half an hour after brushing.
You‘re not cleaning your toothbrush properly: Replacing your brush in its cap as soon as you are done brushing is a no-no. If you don’t rinse and shake out your brush thoroughly, the leftover bacteria on it can be worse and more numerous than the ones in your mouth! Store your toothbrush upright and let it air dry between brushings.