Common Oral Hygiene Mistakes

You might have developed a regular habit of brushing your teeth morning and night, but chances are there is something you can do to improve your oral hygiene. Here are some of the most common oral hygiene mistakes that people make, so you can up your tooth brushing game.

Not brushing long enough

This is perhaps the most common dental hygiene mistake of all. Rather than brushing teeth for a full two minutes, many will brush only until they can feel that clean feeling in the mouth once again, brushing for maybe only 30 seconds. Be sure to floss for a good two minutes two or three times a day.

Brushing too hard

Your teeth might be able to stand up to fiercer scrubbing from your toothbrush, but your gums won’t. Be sure that as you brush, you use a brush with softer bristles and angle those bristles toward your gums. Brush in gentle circular motions, being sure to catch every front, back, and horizontal surface of your teeth.

Brushing right after eating

You might be tempted to reach for your toothbrush just after eating, but if you’ve just eaten something acidic, think again. Acids work right away to break down tooth enamel, and it’s best to give your saliva time to neutralize those acids. Aim for drinking water instead, and wait about 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth.

Not flossing

Remember: the goal of brushing your teeth isn’t simply to freshen your breath; it’s meant to remove food particles and tartar as well. Be sure to floss at least once a day to prevent gum inflammation, tartar buildup, and more.

Forgetting the tongue

Bacteria builds up on the tongue as well, so it’s important to clean it as well during your oral hygiene routine. Many will simply brush the tongue with a toothpaste-filled toothbrush during regular brushing, but a specialized tongue scraper will work even more effectively.

Holding onto a toothbrush for too long

Many dentists recommend switching out your toothbrush every three months to ensure that the bristles you use on your teeth remain strong and effective.

Not drinking enough water

Water is beneficial not only for overall physical health, but also for your oral health specifically. Water helps your mouth to produce saliva, which helps neutralize acids that break down saliva. Water can also help to flush away food debris and dilute stain causing substances in your mouth. Be sure to drink water throughout the day, especially after meals and snacks. It’s also helpful to swish water around your mouth after meals at those times when you might not have access to a toothbrush.

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