3 Common Mistakes You May Make When Brushing Your Teeth, According To A Dentist

Date April 13, 2018

Tooth brushing seems to be a simple hygienic procedure, but, as it turns out, many of us are getting it wrong. Below we list three most common mistakes people make regarding oral care.

1. Brushing teeth only in the morning

Brushing teeth only in the morning is probably the most common mistake people make when it comes to oral care. Brushing your teeth after the last meal of the day before going to sleep is just as important (or even more important) as brushing them in the morning. During the day, your teeth are cleansed by drinking water and chewing food. But at night, the teeth are immersed in saliva and are "at rest", so to say. The saliva contains carbs from food residue, so the teeth sit in the perfect breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria.

The second most common mistake is brushing teeth in the wrong way. Unfortunately, very few people know how to brush their teeth right. Most people brush their teeth incorrectly, literally smearing the plaque all over their choppers and pushing it under the gums instead of actually removing plaque. The proper tooth brushing technique is quite simple: position the tooth brush at the gum line and brush the plaque away in sweeping up-and-down motions. The same applies to the inner surface of your teeth. And don't forget to brush your canines thoroughly, as they often don't get enough attention. And, finally, remove the plaque and harmful bacteria from your tongue. The whole procedure should take you 3 minutes. Set the timer at first to make sure you're brushing your teeth for the whole three minutes, as most people spend only about a minute on this procedure.

3. Forgetting to floss

The third mistake on our list is failing to floss. For some reason, many people think just brushing their teeth is enough to clean them completely, but this is simply not true. If you don't floss, food residue remains in spaces between the teeth, and cavity-causing bacteria feed on it. Spaces between the teeth are hard to reach during simple brushing, so food residue and bacteria linger, and that will eventually cause cavities to grow. It's recommended to floss after every meal. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  • don't pull the floss too hard all the way down, or you risk hurting your gums;
  • every tooth should be flossed, including the molars;
  • place the floss behind the tooth, then gently pull it down, then back up;
  • use a clean area of the floss for each tooth.

Also, dentists recommend to avoid using tooth picks, as tooth picks can easily damage your gums.

The article is based on materials provided by Nikita Golubenko, dental therapist and pediatric dentist.

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.