You’ve brushed your teeth as long as you can remember. As an adult, you may feel confident that you’re doing it correctly. However, there are some important rules to follow when it comes to brushing. These 3 brushing mistakes are all too common. To protect your smile, avoid the following when it comes to brushing:
Although you may think you are doing a better cleaning job if you brush harder, it is simply not necessary. Food debris, bacteria and even plaque can easily be removed with gentle (yet thorough) brush strokes. A soft-bristled toothbrush is also recommended for most patients. Brushing too hard can cause your gums to recede or even compromise your tooth enamel, which may lead to tooth sensitivity.
The American Academy of Dentistry recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each session. The average American, however, only brushes about 45 to 70 seconds. Consider setting a timer to keep you on the job for the full two minutes.
Yes, there is actually a wrong time to brush. Brushing too soon after eating or drinking can cause more harm than good, and here’s why:
Immediately after you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars to make acids. These bacterial acids cause the overall pH in your mouth to fall below normal levels, which in turn makes your tooth enamel “softer.” Brushing too soon combines with this acidic pH and results in an abrasive action on your teeth. Choosing to wait at least 30 minutes (the time it takes for a healthy mouth to return to a normal pH) to grab your toothbrush is best. You may consider rinsing with water after meals to wash off the acids or chewing a piece of sugarless gum to promote acid-neutralizing saliva until it is safe to brush.
Are you making mistakes when it comes to your brushing habits? At Grateful Dental Associates, we can evaluate your unique brushing routine and recommend the best adjustments for your smile. When it comes to caring for your teeth and gums, we love educating patients on how to do it best!