If you brush twice a day and never forget to floss, you may think you’re doing everything possible to care for your teeth. But there are a lot of brushing habits that are actually bad for your teeth, and a lot of people are unknowingly guilty of these oral care no-nos.
From our experienced dentist Dr. Tim Chauvin in Lafayette, Louisiana, here’s what you need to know about brushing habits.
What are Bad Brushing Habits?
- Sharing your toothbrush: It may seem harmless to use your spouse or partner’s toothbrush if you can’t find yours since you kiss and share so many other things. But sharing a toothbrush is bad. Why? You’re inviting a new batch of germs and bacteria that your body isn’t ready for – and you can spread flu and other nasty viruses through your toothbrush. Not only that, the bacteria that causes cavities is highly contagious.
- Keeping your toothbrush for too long: Your toothbrush needs to be thrown away every three to four months. Period. No exceptions! Toothbrushes can preserve germs and other things that are harmful to your oral health.
- Not brushing long enough: Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes, but did you know that the average American only brushes for 45 seconds? Are you guilty of this? Not brushing long enough presents two problems: You’re not getting all the plaque and other germs out, and you’re not giving the fluoride in your toothpaste long enough to work in your mouth. Even if you’re rushed to get out the door in the morning, taking time away from your tooth-brushing will only hurt you in the end.
- Not cleaning your tongue: Your teeth and gums aren’t the only places where bacteria live in your mouth. Even if you don’t get a tongue-scraper, be sure to include your tongue in your twice-daily brushings.
- Neglecting your gums: When you’re running the toothbrush back and forth over your teeth, don’t forget your gums! Just make sure to be gentle.
- Brushing too hard: It might seem logical to brush harder to ensure plaque removal, but doing so can actually do more harm than good. Plaque is easy to remove. You don’t need to press down hard to get the job done.
- Improperly storing your toothbrush: There’s only ONE way to store your toothbrush: Upright with the brush in the open air. Don’t do it any other way.
How can bad brushing techniques affect my teeth and gums?
When it comes to brushing, one of the most important aspects of preventing disease is utilizing proper brushing technique. You could purchase the most lauded and expensive toothbrush and still develop tooth decay and gum disease if your brushing is subpar.
Proper technique involves brushing two to three times per day. You should spend about two minutes brushing your teeth and soft oral tissue each time you brush. Bearing down too hard while brushing could wear cracks in your teeth’s enamel and irritate your gingiva.
While you brush, it is important to gently run your brush over all surfaces of your teeth along with your gums, your tongue, and the insides of your lips and cheeks. Soft oral tissue harbors more bacteria than your teeth so it’s important to brush all surfaces in your mouth.
Contact Our Office Today
For more oral health tips, contact Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office today for an appointment.