You may think there is no such thing as “bad brushing” when it comes to your oral hygiene routine. However, there are some habits that you can engage in that do more harm than good. If you are making the time and effort to clean your teeth, make sure you are doing it correctly. This includes brushing with the proper force, for the necessary duration and at the right time.
Your intentions may be good, but if you are guilty of any of these bad brushing habits, you need to stop.
#1 Brushing too quick
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush for two minutes, twice a day for optimal oral health. Unfortunately, a large majority of the population falls short of this goal. Try setting a timer on your smartphone to help you hit the two-minute mark before you spit and rinse.
#2 Brushing too hard
Scrubbing aggressively with your toothbrush is not going to do your smile any favors. Food debris, acids, bacteria and even plaque can be easily removed with a gentle brushing stroke. Brushing too hard can weaken your tooth enamel and cause your gums to recede. Always choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and be mindful of your force when cleaning your teeth each day.
#3 Brushing too soon
Believe it or not, there is actually a wrong time to brush. Brushing less than 30 minutes after you have consumed an acidic food or drink will act more like an abrasive scrubbing session on your teeth rather than an effective cleaning. The acids brushed against your tooth surface can harm and weaken the protective enamel layer of your teeth. Wait the recommended 30 minutes before you pick up your toothbrush, or sip some water to help neutralize the acids.
#4 Brushing But Not flossing
If brushing is the only step in your oral hygiene routine, you are truly compromising your dental health. Always follow up your brushing session with a thorough flossing. If not, you may be neglecting up to 35% of your tooth’s surface that your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing helps prevent gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath and more.
#5 Brushing Just Your Teeth
It is vitally important that you clean every single one of your teeth when you brush. However, be sure to include your tongue too. Cleaning all surfaces of your tongue can eliminate bad breath and prevent harmful bacteria from returning to your tooth surfaces.
At Grateful Dental, we love helping patients establish the most effective at-home dental hygiene habits. However, it is also important that you make time for a professional cleaning every six months. Even those who brush with perfection still need to see a dentist. Hardened plaque or tarter can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. In addition, your dentist may notice evidence of a bad brushing habit during your exam. Stopping bad brushing habits sooner rather than later can prevent costly dental problems.