Everyone knows the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth, but oral health is about more than avoiding cavities. Here are some common mistakes people make and how to correct them.
1. Not brushing for long enough
For most people, two minutes of brushing is the minimum required for good oral hygiene. If you’re not sure you’re getting there, try listening to a song – just make sure it’s one with a running time of at least two minutes!
2. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough
You should replace your toothbrush at least every three months, or sooner if the bristles start to fray. You should also get a new brush after you’ve had a cold, as the bristles can collect germs that might reinfect you. A handy tip is to change your brush when the seasons change – autumn, winter, spring and summer.
3. Brushing too hard
Even if it doesn’t hurt, brushing too hard can wear away at the enamel of your teeth and make them sensitive. The right technique is to use light strokes in small circles and hold your brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line.
4. Not going in for biannual cleanings
Dentists recommend cleanings once every six months to keep teeth shiny white and healthy. Skipping these appointments can lead to tooth decay, as well as problems that might not be apparent at home like gum disease.
5. Not using fluoride
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel, making it tougher for bacteria to create cavities. Drinking tap water is an easy way to get fluoride, but you can also get it from toothpaste or mouthwash or ask your dentist about fluoride treatments during your next checkup.
6. Using a manual toothbrush
Many people still use a manual toothbrush with stiff bristles because they’ve always used one. But electric brushes have been shown in studies to be more effective at removing plaque buildup than manual brushes.