Brushing your teeth is something you probably do one or two times a day. But does that make you an oral hygiene hotshot? Could you be making brushing mistakes without even realizing it? The way we brush our pearly whites might not be as effective as we think – or worse, it may actually be damaging dental enamel and the gum line. Check out these Six common brushing mistakes, and find out if you’re doing what it takes to look after your teeth and gums.
1. Brushing too little
Obvious, right? Brushing three times a day not only keeps your teeth looking great, but it keeps your whole mouth healthy. If you brush less than two to three times a day or for less than two minutes at a time, start a better habit for your health’s sake.
2. Brushing too much
This one’s not so obvious. Brushing too much can eventually do more harm than good. Excessive brushing can hurt your gums and put extra strain on your enamel, especially since toothpaste contains abrasives.
3. Using the wrong toothbrush
Toothbrushes come in different sizes and varieties. Make sure you pick one that’s comfortable to hold, a size that fits comfortably in your mouth, and one that has soft bristles. Stiffer bristles are sold, but like brushing too hard, it’s possible that they can do more harm than they need to, especially to your gums.
4. Brushing incorrectly
The technique is an important part of brushing effectively. Instead of long, horizontal strokes, try putting the bristles at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and use short circular strokes. Instead of moving across your teeth, go up and down on both the front and back sides.
5. Not changing your toothbrush
As toothbrushes wear, the bristles get less and less effective. A good rule of thumb is to change out your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles look frayed or broken.
6. Overdoing the Paste
Too much toothpaste won’t harm your teeth. But it might mean you won’t brush long enough if you don’t like the feeling of a mouth full of foam. You only need enough of the stuff to cover the length of your toothbrush. More toothpaste doesn’t lead to a better clean ‘ it’s what you do with it that counts, says the American Dental Association.