Is brushing your teeth something you do as an afterthought, while thinking about other things in your life? Do you attack your teeth with the same amount of aggression as you would a greasy baking pan? There are as many dental hygiene habits as there are individuals, and some of these daily practices that you barely think about may be hurting rather than helping your oral care efforts. Here are some bad brushing habits that everyone should be on the lookout for.
Angst and the Art of Tooth Brushing
Are you feeling stressed out? Don’t take it out on your poor teeth! Do that workout first to relieve tension and then brush your teeth in a gentle way with a light amount of pressure. Brushing hard is not necessary to remove plaque, but it might wear down tooth enamel and inflame sensitive gums.
You Can’t Get There from Here
It shouldn’t be necessary to do contortions to try to reach every nook and cranny inside your mouth. Instead, use soft and flexible bristles that can slide in between your teeth in an elegant way. There are toothbrushes on the market that feature V-shaped bristles, crisscross bristles, angled handles and every other imaginable design to get at hard-to-reach places.
The Speed Demon
We’re all incredibly busy with hectic schedules, but if you’re racing against the clock while you’re brushing your teeth, you aren’t giving them attention they deserve, and you might pay for it later with tooth decay or gum disease. The optimal time to spend on brushing is two minutes, but most people don’t adhere to this guideline. If it helps, set a timer or listen to a piece of music so you can better gauge the amount of time you dedicate to this important task.
Then, there are others who take the opposite approach of brushing their teeth into oblivion. This isn’t good either, as it can cause gum irritation or a loss of tooth enamel. Moderation is the key.
About the Automatic Rinse
Most people automatically rinse out their mouths with water after brushing. This might not be such a good idea. Whether you use toothpaste with fluoride or other ingredients, a rigorous rinse might also wash away substances that help protect your teeth. It is recommended that you spit out the excess paste and leave the rest “as is.” However, if this is uncomfortable, you can rinse with a mouthwash that contains beneficial ingredients and leave it for a little while to help strengthen your teeth.
Using Bristles That Are Too Hard
If your toothbrush has the same texture as what you just cleaned that frying pan with, you need to approach your dental hygiene with a softer touch. Choose a brush with soft bristles, as this will be just as effective in cleaning your teeth without the possibility of damaging them.
As with just about everything you do, from getting the weeds out of your flower bed to fixing that leaky faucet, proper tooth brushing is all about using the right tools and the proper methods. Take advantage of the many varieties of toothbrushes available to find the perfect tool for your teeth, and be gentle, soft and thorough. Congratulations — you’re now a tooth brushing champion!