Brushing our teeth twice a day is something that is rightfully part of our everyday routine.
But although it is something we might all be accustomed to, many of us actually don't do it right.
Although you may believe scrubbing in any which way will do the job, this isn't strictly true. Sometimes, the way you brush can not only fail to clean your mouth properly, but also lead to further complications.
Here's the five common mistakes that people make when it comes to their oral health:
1. Brushing too hard
Yes, you can brush your teeth too hard. Although teeth are quite resilient, going to town on them twice a day can really take a toll. For example, your enamel can wear away and your gums can recede.
Not sure if you're brushing too hard? If the bristles are flat or pushed out on your brush head within a couple of weeks of buying the toothbrush, that's a strong indicator. Try using a toothbrush with soft or extra soft bristles. Alternatively use an electric toothbrush – not only are you less likely to push down, some of them actually alert you when you are pressing too hard.
2. Wrong technique
When it comes to brushing, there is a technique that works best. Simply pulling the brush across your teeth vertically and/or horizontally just doesn't cut it. Think massaging, not scrubbing. Small, circular motions work well, dedicating 30 seconds to each section of the mouth – upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right.
Similarly, you might need to change up how you hold the brush – tilt it at a 45 degree angle for optimum results.
3. Not covering all sides and surfaces
It's easy to forget the tongue-side of the teeth – we are usually drawn to the surfaces that are visible. But it's crucial that you don't. Ignoring it could lead to a dangerous build up of plaque that could mean oral health complications and an expensive bill of treatment.
4. Failing to change your toothbrush
You should, as a minimum, change your toothbrush or brush head every three to four months. This makes sure bristles remain effective and keeps bacteria accumulation at bay.
There are other ways to keep your toothbrush as effective as possible. Keep it in open air to help prevent bacteria or mould from growing on it when it is wet. This may be obvious but also try not to share it with anybody else.
5. Brushing too soon
It's great that you are keen to keep your teeth in the best shape possible. However the way to do this isn't by brushing the second after you consume something remotely sugary. In fact, this could actually have the opposite effect.
Dental experts suggest refraining from brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after eating. Brushing straight after a meal or sugary beverage could actually further cover your teeth in the acids produced, rather than get rid of them.