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Are You Making These Dental Mistakes?

Are You Making These Dental Mistakes?
Posted on 03/07/2023

Let’s admit it. Few of us brush our teeth as well as we could. Often we’re in a hurry, running late for school or work, or we are tired and simply eager to relax. Maybe we just go to bed before brushing. Don’t. Skipping brushing your teeth is a mistake that can cost you in the long run. Investing in proper oral care means you’ll be less likely to have to invest in dental work down the road.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the 2/2 rule - brush for two minutes twice per day at minimum to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Are you brushing correctly? Maybe that seems like an elementary question, but there’s actually a common mistake that many people make when they brush. Some people try to “scrub” their mouths clean by going back and forth along their teeth. Actually, there are two mistakes in that method. First, brushing harder is not brushing better. Use a gentle touch and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Second, brushing should be up and down, not back and forth. Start at the gum and go up and down in little circular motions.

When brushing, people tend to spend time focusing on the chewing surface of the teeth, failing to adequately clean the gum line, where tooth and gum meet, and where bacteria are often found. You should brush at a 45-degree angle, and aim for getting just slightly under the gum. That’s why it’s important to have a toothbrush with soft bristles which will bend and help you reach that area to gently clean what might otherwise be missed.

Also, don’t just brush the parts that people can see.  Be sure to brush the tongue side of your teeth, and your tongue as well. Plus, don’t forget to floss! Flossing BEFORE you brush can help dislodge particles between your teeth which can then more easily be brushed away.

While you may like your current toothbrush, it may be time for a change. You should swap to a new one at least every 3 to 4 months. Check the bristles for signs of wear or discoloration, which may mean it needs replacing sooner. Look for toothbrushes with the ADA seal of approval. Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone. Store it vertically and in the open air to keep mold and bacteria from growing on it when wet.

Maybe you are extra vigilant when it comes to your teeth. If so, bravo! But, are you perhaps brushing too quickly? It may be tempting to brush right after eating. However, you may want to hold off slightly. Depending on what you have eaten or what you drank with your meal, you may have acid sitting in your mouth which can become abrasive. Brushing at that moment then is somewhat helping the acid to erode your tooth. It’s better to wait maybe 15 to 20 minutes to allow the saliva in your mouth to do its job, or at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove some of the acids before brushing.

Be encouraged. It doesn’t take much to avoid these dental mistakes. With just a bit of focus and attention, your next dental visit will likely reward you for your efforts. Contact our experts at Macon Smiles today to know more and know your worth!

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