As far as difficult tasks go, brushing your teeth doesn’t seem like one of them. After all, you’ve been doing it since you were very little (we hope!) so the ‘rinse, toothpaste on, brush teeth’ routine is set on autopilot, right? However, as easy as the oral hygiene routine may be, it’s just as easy to fall into bad brushing habits, which can put your oral health at risk.
Brushing too hard
While it may seem logical to apply more pressure when cleaning something to ensure its cleanliness, this isn’t the case when it comes to your teeth. Vigorous brushing can damage and wear away your enamel and can cause gum irritation.
Not brushing long enough
Slow down speed demons. We all know that brushing your teeth should take two minutes, but most people fall short of that. Divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each quarter. If you still feel like you’re racing through too quickly, try listening to your favourite song whilst brushing.
Brushing side-to-side can damage your enamel, so make sure to brush in a small, circular motion, with the brush at a 45-degree angle, especially near the gum line. Focus on a few teeth at a time before moving on. The only area where it’s safe to brush back and forth is over the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
Brushing straight after eating
The acids in our food can leave our teeth temporarily softer than normal. Therefore, if you brush straight after eating, you’re helping to erode the enamel away. Instead, wait at least 40 minutes after you’ve eaten before you brush and drink a glass of water or chew some sugar-free gum to help remove any traces of acid.
Using damaging toothpaste
Make sure your toothpaste contains the all-important fluoride, which helps to protect your teeth against decay. Charcoal toothpaste and some whitening toothpastes are very abrasive and long-term use can damage your teeth.
Storing your brush improperly
Avoid keeping your toothbrush in a closed container, where bacteria have more opportunity to grow. Keep your toothbrush upright and let it air dry in the open.
Keeping your toothbrush for too long
Change your toothbrush, or electric brush head every 3 months. After a few months, the bristles start to break down and aren’t as effective in cleaning your teeth.