Oral Health: Toothbrushing Mistakes You Probably Didn’t Know You Were Making

The Importance of Daily Tooth Brushing for Dental Health

Proper daily tooth brushing is essential for your general health and well-being. Gum disease and tooth decay are the two most common dental issues, but both can be improved or avoided altogether if you follow an effective and consistent daily oral hygiene routine.

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Most of us are so used to the routine of brushing our teeth that we barely think about it. It’s something that is ingrained in us, as second nature as walking or making a cup of tea! But having proper toothbrushing technique is vital for your oral health and it’s a sad fact that many of us are simply doing it wrong. Here at the Smile Clinic we pride ourselves on creating beautiful smiles and happy patients and we think that should extend to your daily brushing routine!

To help you out, here’s our rundown of the top five Tooth brushing Mistakes You Probably Didn’t Know You Were Making – and how to fix them.

1. Using The Wrong Size Toothbrush

With so many options out there to choose from it’s no real surprise that many of us end up using the wrong size toothbrush. The best way to ensure you’re using the correct size brush is to consider the size of your mouth. If you find yourself straining to fit your toothbrush inside your mouth or find it difficult to reach all your teeth, particularly those at the back of your mouth, you’re probably using a brush that is too big.

We recommend that you choose a small-headed toothbrush so you can move it around your mouth better. You should be able to easily brush all the surfaces of your teeth, including the insides and around the back of your molars. Soft to medium bristled toothbrushes are the best choice as these are better at removing plaque and food debris from your teeth.

If you’re concerned about choosing the correct toothbrush, ask your dentist for a recommendation or look for a manual or powered toothbrush that has the British Dental Association (BDA) Seal of Approval.

2. Not Brushing For Long Enough

Probably the most common mistake people make when brushing their teeth is simply not brushing for long enough! The BDA recommends you brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes a minimum of twice a day. Proper brushing takes time, so if you’re in and out before the toilet’s finished flushing you need to think again! A good tip is to divide your mouth into four sections and concentrate on each section for 30 seconds. Try timing yourself the next time you brush your teeth to see how good, or bad, your timing really is.

3. Incorrect Brushing Technique

A lot of people don’t realise that there is actually a right and a wrong way to brush your teeth. Wide, side-to-side brush strokes can actually be harmful to your teeth and cause scrapes along the gum line. For better brushing technique try to follow these rules:

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and use up-and-down strokes to gently brush your teeth.
  • Use short strokes and even pressure.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

Don’t be too heavy handed when you’re brushing. It doesn’t actually take that much force to remove plaque so be gentle and consistent. There are loads of great infographics that you can check out to help you adopt better tooth brushing technique, as well as this detailed ‘Tooth Brushing Technique’ animation from the BDA’s 3D Mouth.

4. Using A Non-Fluoride Toothpaste

Using toothpaste that contains fluoride is essential for the prevention of tooth decay. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water which is known to help reduce the risk of tooth decay. It is for this reason that fluoride is added to toothpaste in the first place and, according to the BDA, its use in toothpaste is the main reason for the decline in dental decay in Europe over the last three decades.

Some toothpaste, mainly whitening brands, don’t contain any fluoride at all. If you want to brighten your smile it’s fine to switch between whitening brands and regular toothpaste but it is essential to keep brushing regularly with a fluoride containing toothpaste. For adults a toothpaste containing at least 1,350ppm of fluoride is recommended.

5. Not Changing Your Toothbrush Often Enough

A toothbrush that has damaged or splayed bristles will not be as effective at brushing your teeth. The BDA recommends you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months, but keep an eye on the condition of your toothbrush bristles and if they begin to look worse for wear replace your toothbrush immediately.

6. Don’t Forget To Floss!

Flossing isn’t just for dislodging stray food particles from between your teeth. Regular flossing also helps to prevent bad breath and gum disease by removing plaque that forms along the gum line.

As with tooth brushing there is a right and a wrong way to floss. If you use dental floss or tape in the wrong way it can damage your gums so always be sure to follow your dentists advice about how and when to floss. More information about flossing and correct flossing technique is available here.

Bonus Hints And Tips

  • Try to switch up where you start brushing your teeth each time. Many of us are creatures of habit and start brushing in the same spot every time, meaning we may well miss some areas of our mouths.
  • If you use mouthwash, choose one that contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.
  • Try not to eat or drink for at least 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash.
  • Avoid using toothpicks to remove trapped food from between your teeth as these can damage your gums. Instead try an interdental brush or use floss.
  • Try not to use mouthwash straight after brushing your teeth – choose a different time, such as after lunch.
  • Store your toothbrush upright in a holder or cup to prevent exposure to germs from the toilet or sink.
  • Always rinse your toothbrush after brushing and allow it to air-dry – try to avoid keeping the head of your toothbrush in a case where it will remain damp for a long time.

At Fresh Dental Smile Clinic all our consultations with the dentist are completely free. During this consultation our dentists will answer any questions you may have, allowing you to explore suitable treatment options and be given an indication of costs together with financial options. We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service, treatment and aftercare. Our number one priority is to care for you and ensure that you get the best possible results. To book your free consultation today, please contact the clinic direct on 01904 623687 or email us on info@freshsmiles.co.uk.