Put on some toothpaste, wet the toothbrush and start scrubbing. Easy enough, right?
But brushing is more complex than you may think. Here’s a look at five common mistakes people make when brushing, which could have a huge impact on their dental health.
Not brushing long enough – Have you ever timed yourself while brushing? You probably aren’t doing it as long as you think. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day. You’d be surprised how long two minutes actually is. Try using a timer or an electric toothbrush that keeps track of how long you’ve been brushing.
Brushing too hard – When you are scrubbing a stain on the carpet, you have to scrub hard. But it’s different when brushing your teeth. Using too much pressure can actually harm your teeth, damaging the enamel that protects them from bacteria. So brushing harder won’t help with whitening, and can actually lead to more cavities. If your toothbrush bristles splay out over time, chances are you are using too much pressure. Use a softer touch, or get an electric toothbrush that has a pressure sensor included.
Unequal attention – Most people start out brushing with enthusiasm, but quickly get bored and just pass over their remaining teeth. Ideally, you should be spending at least 30 seconds on each quadrant of your teeth, making sure that each one gets a balanced brushing.
Brushing right after eating – People often run to brush their teeth after eating, but that can actually be harmful. Fruit in particular is full of acid, which temporarily weakens the protective enamel. Brushing too soon can tear that enamel off, so it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
Don’t forget to rinse – Many patients have mastered the four tips above, but forget to give their mouth a swish with water before calling it good. This is an extremely important step, because it gets rid of the food particles brushing dislodges from your teeth.