Do the Right Thing: 8 Brushing Mistakes That May Sabotage Your Oral Health

Sep 13 • 3 minute read

At Mitchell Dentistry, our dentists and hygiene team love to educate our patients about the importance and the techniques of home care to keep smiles bright and healthy. For example, we’re eager to explain the best way to brush and floss your teeth, demonstrate for you, and watch you do it yourself – all to ensure that you can get the job done properly once you’re at home. A recent article on the American Dental Association site  aptly describes the eight most common mistakes people make when brushing their teeth. While we usually tell you what you should do, this time we are sharing what NOT to do when caring for your teeth!


1.     Using a Brush That's Not the Best Fit for You

There are many toothbrushes that can leave your teeth fresh and clean, including manual and power brushes that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Both get the job done. Try different types until you find one you're comfortable with. For example, a power brush can be easier to hold and does some of the work for you if you have trouble brushing. No matter which you choose remember that it's not all about the brush—a clean mouth is really up to the brusher!


(A reminder that all of us at Mitchell Dentistry agree that electric is the way to go for a thorough cleaning. We prefer Philips Sonicare for its power, effectiveness, and intermittent timer to let you know when to change quadrants. And did you know that Mitchell Dentistry is able to offer the Sonicare Expert Clean toothbrush for $99 with a $20 rebate coupon that brings the price to $79? Ask us more about how you can improve your oral healthcare routine and save money at the same time.)


2.     Keeping Your Toothbrush for Too Long

The ADA recommends changing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, so a handy reminder is to change your toothbrush with every season of the year. Frayed and broken bristles won’t keep your teeth clean—these are signs it’s time to let go. When you’re shopping, look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.


3.     Not Brushing Long Enough

Speed demons, listen up! Your teeth should be brushed for a full two minutes, twice per day. Most of us fall short —the average time most people spend brushing is 45 seconds. If you’re racing through cleaning, try setting a timer. Or distract yourself by humming your favorite tune! 


4.     Brushing Too Hard

Be gentle with your teeth. You may think brushing harder will remove more leftover food and the bacteria that loves to eat it, but a gentle brushing is all that’s needed. Too much pressure may damage your gums.


5.     Brushing Right After Eating

If you feel the need to clean your teeth after eating or drinking, wait at least 60 minutes before brushing—especially if you have had something acidic like lemons, grapefruit or soda. Drink water to help clean your mouth while you are waiting to brush.


6.     Storing Your Brush Improperly

When you’re done brushing, keep your toothbrush upright and let it air dry in the open. Avoid keeping your toothbrush in a closed container, where germs have more opportunity to grow.


7.     Using a Brush with Hard Bristles

Soft bristles are a safe bet. And be mindful to be gentle, especially where your gums and teeth meet, as you brush. We can help you decide what kind of toothbrush is best for you.


8.     Improper Brushing Technique

Here's one technique to try for a thorough brush: First, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Then, gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Next, brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finally, To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes. (We have attached a helpful video to demonstrate.)


Please talk to us about your questions and concerns - we welcome your feedback!


Best wishes,

Dr. Jim, Dr. Yolanda, Dr. Joe, and Dr. Helen


SOURCE: American Dental Association



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