11 Overlooked Flossing and Brushing Mistakes that Cause Oral Health Issues

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July 2, 2019
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Oral health problems are very prevalent in 2019. Gum disease is especially common According to the American Periodontal Association, an estimated 47.2% of Americans suffer some form of periodontal disease. The frequency of cavities is much higher.

Many people do not always brush their teeth correctly. One dentist we spoke with has warned that the most common brushing technique is not usually correct. The biggest problem is that people will move food and bacteria around their mouth, but do not entirely eliminate it.

The expert we spoke with wants to help people rectify these mistakes, so she listed a number of things that are usually done poorly when brushing teeth.

Follow the Right Protocols When Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth well is essential task to prevent cavities, periodontal problems and other oral diseases. Brushing your teeth properly involves following certain rules to keep your mouth healthy.

In the gum treatments that many dentists perform, the patient is instructed on the correct way to brush teeth, avoiding bad vices in the techniques of dental brushing. Here are some frequent errors in tooth brushing technique.

Mistake Number One: You Don’t Spend Enough Time Brushing

I recall reading an article in Reader’s Digest around 15 years ago that stated the average person only brushes their teeth for less than a minute. This is grossly insufficient.

This is still a problem today. A study by Colgate found that over 30% of Americans don’t brush their teeth enough. We recommend a minimum of two minutes of brushing, since brushing teeth too quickly increases the chances of missing areas where food has accumulated.

Mistake Number Two: Wetting the Toothbrush Before Brushing Your Teeth

Most of wet the brush before brushing our teeth. This seems logical, because we want to get the toothpaste to be more malleable before we start brushing. However, this approach actually makes it harder to remove food particles.

Delta Dental points out that it is better if the toothbrush is left dry, because it is easier to move the food particles around. Also, the food that remains will be eliminated better and the bacteria will have a harder time thriving after the food is cleansed from your mouth. In addition, wetting the toothbrush can generate more foam than necessary for proper brushing. This is not necessarily a good thing, because toothpaste is rather abrasive and the extra foam could cause damage to your enamel over time.

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Mistake Number Three: Using more toothpaste than necessary

Many people overestimate the amount of toothpaste they need to brush. This doesn’t just lead to them wasting toothpaste. It is also bad for their teeth, because the excessive paste could wear down their enamel.

“It is not necessary to cover the entire toothbrush with toothpaste. Just put a little paste, the size of a chickpea, is enough,” explained the expert.

Mistake Number Four: Rinsing too much at the end

Fluoride strengthens the enamel and chlorhexidine aids with gum repair. Therefore, it is important to keep a little bit of it on your teeth afterwards. Once you are finished brushing, it is not advisable to rinse too much. If you do, the toothpaste is not going to act.

Mistake Number Five: You do not incline the brush enough

“My recommendation is to keep the brush at a 45-degree angle and alternate circular movements with movements from the gum to the tooth,” ADE Group hygienist Esther Sarriera has stated.

Mistake Number Six: Brushing your teeth right after eating

Many people think that they should brush their teeth right after they finish eating, because they want to get rid of any excess food right away. This is counterproductive.

It is better to wait at least 30 minutes after meals to brush our teeth, because doing so right after carries the risk of spreading acid from the food on the teeth, eroding them in the long term, instead of eliminating them.

Mistake Number Seven: Neglecting to understand the goals of brushing

Brushing should focus on eliminating bacterial plaque. A popular oral health myth is that we only brush our teeth to remove food debris. This is incorrect, because it is the bacteria attached to the teeth and gums that cause disease. The best approach to oral hygiene involves rubbing the tooth surface to eliminate those bacteria adhered to the tooth that arise 8 hours after brushing. We therefore recommend brushing your teeth every 8 hours.

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Mistake Number Eight: Forgetting to clean between the teeth

Don’t forget to clean between the teeth. One option is to use a water flosser. The most common mistake people make is forgetting to floss or brush between the teeth, as the average toothbrush does not reach these areas. If you do not, the risk of cavities, periodontitis or tooth loss is very high.

Mistake Number Nine: Using strong or medium hardness brushes

If you want to brush your teeth correctly, you need to use the right instruments. The consistency of the bristles of the brush must be be marked  as “soft” on the toothbrush package. Otherwise, you can cause your gums to recede, which exposes the root and causes dental hypersensitivity to cold or heat.

Mistake Number Ten: Relying too much on mouthwashes

Don’t rely exclusively on mouthwashes or sugar-free gum. Scientifically we know that mouthwashes do not remove interdental plaque. It is also insufficient to lower the pH of the saliva with chewing gum if we have not first eliminated the bacteria with a correct toothbrush.

Mistake Number Eleven: Brushing Your Teeth Horizontally

Brushing your teeth well takes time. You need to move the brush in a sweeping semicircle from the gum to the tooth. Never move the brush horizontally or you will cause the gum to retract.

There are many considerations to take into account if you want to practice good oral hygiene. Fortunately, if you put all these tips into practice, you will notice a big difference in our oral health.