Six Dental Care Mistakes You May Not Know You're Making

Dentist Articles

Your tooth brushing habits are often formed early in your life – before you really know what skills you're actually developing. Your parents will model the necessary dental care behaviors, and your habits will often mirror theirs. Sometimes, even your best dental care efforts don't seem to be enough to effectively protect your teeth and gums. If you're struggling with dental care problems, don't just dismiss it as poor genetics or an unavoidable issue. Here are some common dental care mistakes that you may have been making all along.

Focusing Solely on Your Teeth

Your teeth are an important focal point of oral health care at home, but many people put too much focus on teeth and not enough focus on the rest of the mouth. Bacteria growth isn't limited to just your teeth. While you're brushing, you should make sure that you brush your tongue and the inside edge of your cheeks, too. This helps to clear out any excess bacteria that can damage your teeth and gums as well as cause bad breath.

Brushing Too Hard or Too Much

In your effort to make sure that your teeth are clean, you might find yourself scrubbing extra hard with your toothbrush. This is often more damaging than helpful, because it can lead to irritation and damage to your gums and tooth enamel. If you irritate your gums too much and they pull back away from your teeth, that can expose the root of your tooth to bacteria. Over time, this exposure can lead to periodontal disease.

Even if you're brushing gently, if you brush for too long, you're also putting your gums at risk. Make sure that you only brush for a minute or two each time you brush. More isn't always better, and that's certainly the case here. If you brush more than a couple of times a day or you brush for too long each time, you're going to wear away the enamel on your teeth and expose your tooth to harmful bacteria.

Using a Firm Toothbrush

Firm bristles on your toothbrush may seem better for cleaning away particles on your teeth. This isn't necessarily true. The firmer the bristles are on your toothbrush, the greater risk you have of irritating your teeth and gums. This irritation can leave the tissue vulnerable to infection.

Brushing Too Soon After a Meal

Brushing after meals is a good idea, but brushing too soon after a meal can actually be harmful. Brushing right after a meal can expose your teeth to the acids in the foods you ate. According to Colgate, you should wait at least an hour after your meal before you brush. This gives your body the chance to neutralize acid through natural saliva production before you brush.

Bypassing the Water Pitcher

Your teeth need water as much as the rest of your body does. Pure water can help your mouth produce saliva, which is essential for eliminating bacteria in your mouth. Consider adding a glass of water to every meal to help fight the residual bacteria growth and the acid from the foods you eat.

Flossing Incorrectly

Although flossing is an important part of caring for your teeth, it's also one of the hardest dental care steps for people to get right. Talk to your dentist about the way that you should approach flossing as well as the type of floss that you should be using. He or she can give you a thorough tutorial to be sure that you're doing it right. This ensures that you reap the benefits of the process instead of risking more damage to your teeth.

As you can see, there are several mistakes that you may not even know that you're making when you care for your teeth. Not only does proper dental care protect your teeth now, it also helps to reduce your risk of serious dental problems and other health conditions later.


4 February 2015