Like most dentists, we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice daily for a minimum of 2-3 minutes.
However, it isn’t enough to just brush your teeth – if you want to maintain dental health and a shiny smile, you need to brush your teeth properly!
Even if you brush your teeth the right amount of times per day, there are still plenty of dental hygiene mistakes that people make.
We aren’t talking about things like using the wrong toothbrush or not flossing – no, we mean mistakes you probably wouldn’t know, unless you either are a dentist, or have been told by one.
Who knows, you might make several of these mistakes every single day and not even realise it.
The regular brushing routine
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the mistakes you could be making, we take a quick look at the ideal process you should follow when it comes to keeping your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy.
If you’re like most people, your dental hygiene routine goes (or, should go!) something like this:
- Floss between your teeth – yes, you should floss before you brush! (once a day)
- Brush for 2-3 minutes, using a Fluoride toothpaste. Consider a quality electric toothbrush (twice a day)
- Tongue scrape (once a day)
- Rinse your mouth out
- Drink lots of tap water throughout the day
The principal is correct, but the mistakes you’re making could indeed be during steps 1-4 above…
Mistake #1: not drinking enough Fluoridated tap water
Fluoride is the unspoken hero of dental health – think of it as your body’s very own dedicated cavity bodyguard.
Tooth decay attacks your teeth, removing vital minerals from the enamel layer. Fluoride restores your enamel – for good dental health, this supply of fluoride needs to be refreshed.
This keeps your enamel strong and helps plug potential weak spots in your teeth that may develop into cavities later on.
And since fluoride is one of the main ingredients of most toothpastes nowadays, brushing your teeth is vital for your oral health.
You could brush and only spit out the excess toothpaste, leaving toothpaste on your teeth, but drinking Fluoridated tap water is generally sufficient for most of the population.
Mistake #2: brushing immediately after eating
A lot of people get it into their heads that when brushing their teeth, it’s best to strike while the iron’s still hot and brush your teeth immediately following a meal.
However, that isn’t always the case. In fact, in some instances it’s actually better to wait!
That’s because certain foods are tougher on your teeth than others.
For example, highly acidic foods like citrus fruits cause demineralisation – they damage the enamel and leave it in a more fragile state.
While it might sound like the perfect time to brush, these foods leave your teeth temporarily vulnerable. By brushing too early, you might actually worsen the damage to your enamel.
Instead, we recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. This gives your mouth enough time to flush out acidity with saliva.
In the meantime, you can also drink a glass of water to help flush away acid.
We generally advocate brushing your teeth before breakfast and before sleep.
Mistake #3: keeping the lid open when you flush the toilet
Did you know: According to the American Society for Microbiology, there’s a good chance that you’re brushing your teeth with fecal matter!
Luckily for you, the exact same study also noted that most toothpastes neutralise this and that there are no adverse health effects.
Still, it isn’t exactly a pleasant thought!
According to the study, the reason this happens is because flushing toilets sprays tiny microscopic particles everywhere (so if your bathroom has a separate toilet, you’re already coming out ahead).
And before you ask, no, covering your toothbrush doesn’t help either – this simply traps moisture and creates a bacteria-friendly environment.
The simplest solution? Get into the very strict habit of closing the lid everytime your flush the toilet to stop bacteria from spreading – and landing on your toothbrush!
Mistake #4: not brushing your tongue, too
Did you know: when you brush your teeth, you also need to brush your tongue?
While brushing your teeth might remove bacteria from your teeth, it’s worth remembering that your tongue is a hotbed of bacteria.
While 99% of this bacteria is the good variety, your tongue can also catch residual bacteria from the food you eat.
This residual bacteria can stick around even after you finish brushing. What’s the point of brushing in the first place if you’re still going to be left with harmful bacteria?
So, what can you do? Clean your tongue too, that’s what!
Some toothbrushes come with a bumpy rubber covering on the other side. That’s not just there for decoration – those bristles are designed to clean your tongue.
Alternatively, you can talk to your Armadale dentist and we’ll connect you to specialist tongue cleaning tools and scraper.
Your Armadale dentist holds the secret to healthier, shinier teeth
By now, you should have a clearer understanding of just how many seemingly small things can influence your dental health.
And these are just a couple of them – in truth, the list of things you should (and shouldn’t) be doing is huge.
An effective dental hygiene routine is essential to maintaining a healthy smile. You mightn’t know what to do. Luckily, your Armadale dentist does!
At Dental Care Group, our team of highly-qualified oral hygiene experts are more than happy to talk you through our dental hygiene program, helping you develop good habits that improve your overall oral health.
Looking for more dental hygiene tips? Click here to find out what else you might be doing wrong!