Brush Better by Avoiding These Bad Habits

Posted on 1/20/2013 by Gregory A. Williams
Woman and man brushing their teethWhen it comes to protecting the health of your teeth and gums, no one habit can make as dramatic a difference as brushing. For most people brushing has become such an ingrained habit they don't even need to think about what they are doing. After all, spend most of your life practicing something and odds are you're going become pretty comfortable with how it's done. However, just because you brush daily doesn't mean that you're brushing correctly. Here at our Tigard dental office we want to make sure you have the best info possible .

As the case with any activity, you can begin to develop bad habits when brushing that can leave your teeth and gums more susceptible to cavities and gum disease. To ensure you maintain your oral health, make an effort to avoid these common toothbrushing mistakes.

Using the Wrong Brush

You need to consider several factors when selecting the right brush for you that includes more than just color. First, think about the size of your mouth. If you often find yourself straining to open your mouth wide enough to allow the brush to easily fit in, your probably using a brush that's too big for the size of your mouth. The handle of a toothbrush should comfortably in your hand, and should feel similar to holding a fork while eating. The more comfortable you are with how a brush feels in your hand and mouth, the more likely you are to brush correctly.

Selecting the Wrong Bristles

While you probably don't give it much thought, the bristles on a brush can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth. Hard, inflexible bristles can wear down tooth enamel, eventually exposing the soft, delicate center known as the dentin. Hard bristles can also irritate gum tissue, which can lead to gum recession and tooth loss over time. When purchasing a toothbrush, look for brands that feature American Dental Association recommended soft-bristles, which are strong enough to remove plaque without causing tooth or gum damage.

Not Spending Enough Time Brushing

The ADA recommends that twice a day people spend at least two minutes brushing, a number that most people fall well below. For many, the average time spent actually brushing is around 30 seconds, or one minute a day. This equates to only a quarter of the amount of time you should spend brushing daily.
Since it can be difficult properly judging how much time goes by, dentists recommend that patients keep a clock in or near their bathroom so they can keep an eye on how much time they spend brushing. Dentist also recommend that patients divide their mouths into four sectors, and that they spend 30 seconds brushing each of these areas of the mouth.

Aggressively Brushing

Even though it's commendable to take your oral care seriously, brushing too aggressively can actually damage the health of your teeth. Brushing until your gums become sore or begin to bleed can cause your gum tissue to become inflamed, which can lead to gum recession. Brushing too aggressively with a toothbrush that has hard bristles can also speed up how quickly you damage your teeth's enamel.

Not Brushing Correctly

In addition to spending the right amount of time and using the right amount of pressure, it's important that you brush the entire surface of your teeth. That includes the front, back, and sides of your teeth. The majority of people only brush the surface of the their teeth that is visible when smiling, and forget to brush the less noticeable areas of the mouth. Unfortunately the plaque on these hard to see areas is just as damaging as plaque that builds up on the front of your teeth, and needs to be removed.

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Gregory A. Williams DMD | | 503-620-2020
11820 SW King James Pl Suite 40 Tigard, OR 97224
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