Back’n’forth, back’n’forth – scrub, scrub, scrub! Get those teeth clean! Yes, get them clean … but, if your method of brushing more resembles a lumberjack sawing trees in half than it does a gentle cleansing of your teeth, you might be setting yourself up for a lifetime of sensitive teeth, bonding treatments and receding gums. Here’s more detail on this and three more common mistakes people make while brushing:
- Brushing too frequently: Taking to the toothbrush three times a day is ideal, particularly if you do it after meals. Any more than that, though, and you’re likely to do more harm than good. If you tend to snack throughout the day, and have a desire to brush after each little feast, switch up your brushing routine by rinsing with water between snacks instead. This will help keep your mouth fresh without overdoing it on the brushing. If your snacking is of the sticky variety, it might be best to perhaps rinse after lunch and brush after the snack.
- Brushing too vigorously: The number one self-inflicted cause of worn enamel is brushing too hard. Brushing your teeth is boring – we get that. But don’t make things worse for your teeth by brushing with a back’n’forth saw-like motion just to get it over with quickly. The continual friction caused by this type of brushing erodes the gumline AND your enamel. You can avoid this problem by brushing gently and in a circular motion, while aiming the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the base of the gums. It’ll be slow going at first, but in a week, you’ll have the hang of it.
- Using an ill-fitting toothbrush: The toothbrush we use should always fit our mouths, and sometimes – if your mouth is particularly tiny – the best brush for you might be a child’s toothbrush. Try out different sizes. Smaller is often better. If you’re at all uncertain, ask your dentist the next time you’re in for a visit, and they’ll get you the perfect size for your mouth.
- Using a toothbrush with bristles that are too stiff: Just as the dimension of a toothbrush matters, so does the stiffness of its bristles. Bristles that are too firm can be damaging to enamel and gum tissue in much the same way as brushing too vigorously. This is why most dentists will recommend either soft or extra-soft bristles on a toothbrush because it’s the technique (see tip #2) that really matters not the force of the brushing.. Again, if you’re not sure, ask your dentist for advice specific to your mouth.
Saving your tooth enamel from slowly “disappearing” from your teeth is very simple to do, and with the above tips you pretty much have all you need to keep things in good shape!