The ritual of brushing your teeth is one of the most practiced rituals in our daily lives. Every day, twice each day, we belly up to the sink and put paste to bristles to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. While we do this every day, there are many people who wonder if they’re doing it right? One of the questions we often get at this Melbourne, Florida dental practice is, “Am I brushing my teeth correctly?” Thankfully our answer is often yes, but there are always techniques that can be improved upon, and pitfalls to watch out for. If you are curious if your brushing ritual is providing you with all the benefits you hope for, don’t hesitate to ask for a quick reminder.
Common Brushing Faux Pas
Because we brush our teeth every day, it’s difficult to know when we’re making silly mistakes. It’s easy to think that a short, sub-par brush in the morning when you’re rushing out of the house can be averaged out by a long night session followed by flossing and mouthwash. However, taking care of your teeth correctly every time you brush them has quantified advantages, here are some common faux pas we commit, and why they should be corrected and avoided.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing too hard is one of the more common dental mistakes we see. It’s often a result of stress, trying to play catch-up, or simple misinformation. The bristles of a tooth brush are designed to remove bacteria and plaque with very little pressure. Brushing agitates the food particles and moves them away. People sometimes believe that the more pressure they apply to the brush, the cleaner their teeth will become. This is simply not true. In fact, by brushing too hard you can be doing irreversible damage to your teeth. Brushing too hard can compromise the enamel of your teeth, especially if you are using a hard-bristled toothbrush and a particularly abrasive toothpaste. Enamel erosion can occur and increase your risk for developing cavities, and experienced dental trauma like cracks and chips. Brushing too hard can also cause damage to your gums. Make sure that you are always using either a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush, and use a light touch when bringing the bristles to your teeth. Remember you are scrubbing sugar from one of the most important parts of your body, not removing soap scum from the tiles on the bathroom floor.
Not Brushing Long Enough
Another all-too-common mistake people make while brushing their teeth is not brushing for a long enough period of time. There is a reason why your Melbourne, Florida dentist and the ADA all recommend two minutes twice daily. It is the amount of time that is needed to remove all the bacteria, sugar, and plaque that can cause damage to your oral tissues. It can be easy when you’re in a rush in the morning or exhausted at night to not brush for the full two minutes; however, when you do this, you are only putting your teeth and gums at risk. Brushing your teeth is about so much more than just having fresh breath. It’s about protecting the integrity of your mouth for years to come. It’s about preventing decay and practicing self care. When you brush your teeth the immediate effects are easy to see, fresh breath and clean teeth are a great reward, however if you continue to brush you are removing the bacteria that can cause cavities. When when this bacteria is removed from your mouth you can also prevent the development of gum disease and periodontal disease. By preventing these two inflammatory conditions you can also decrease your risk of the other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s – all of which have been linked with severe periodontal disease.
Not Following Up With Floss
Forgetting to, or neglecting to, floss is another serious problem people have with their daily oral routine. Brushing is extremely important and when you perform this task for the recommended two minutes you can keep your teeth clean and healthy. But, when you forget to floss you are leaving your gums susceptible to inflammation. Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth because there are areas of your mouth you cannot reach with a toothbrush. Flossing enables you to remove bacteria from between the teeth and from under the gum line. This is extremely beneficial because if bacteria is allowed to replicate and feed under the gums, pockets of decay can form pulling the gums away from the teeth and increasing the odds of periodontal disease and lost teeth. Flossing only takes a few more minutes and is an integral part of a daily oral hygiene routine.
If you are needing a refresher on how to properly brush your teeth, don’t hesitate to ask your Melbourne, Florida dentist. Dr. Brazdo will be happy to help you become the best brusher you can be, so you can keep your teeth healthy and strong.