Chances are, you’ve been brushing your teeth since you were a toddler. However, just because you have performed this task for many years doesn’t necessarily mean you are using the correct technique. Dr. Kenneth Ingber, a cosmetic dentist in Washington, D.C., shares some common brushing foibles, as well as other dental hygiene mistakes you might be making.
1. Rushing While You Brush
One of the most common dental hygiene mistakes is not brushing the teeth long enough. To do a thorough job, you need to brush for about two minutes. Shortchanging this could leave harmful plaque behind, which could lead to cavities. If you have a hard time hitting the two-minute mark, turn on your smartphone’s timer, or invest in an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer.
A related mistake is to only brush the surface of the teeth, where food particles very rarely get stuck. Focus on the edges and corners of the teeth, which are more likely to trap food and bacteria. Pay attention to the gum line, too.
2. Brushing Too Hard
You may think you are preventing gum disease by brushing vigorously, but you are actually hurting your gum tissue. Aggressive brushing can push back the soft gum tissue and expose the root area. It may also aggravate tooth sensitivity or, in extreme cases, loosen the teeth. Use gentle pressure and make small, circular motions.
3. Not Flossing
Flossing is a necessary component of any dental hygiene routine. Floss reaches the nooks and crannies that a toothbrush cannot. Floss at least once a day, or more often if you are prone to getting food stuck in your teeth. As you floss, wrap the string around the tooth (imagine trying to “hug” the tooth) in a C shape, and move it up and down, as opposed to simply sliding the floss in between the teeth.
4. Not Hydrating Enough
Drinking water helps clean food particles from the mouth. It also helps the body produce saliva, which keeps your mouth clean and healthy.
5. Avoiding the Dentist
It’s crucial to see your general dentist regularly (either every six months or once a year), so he can perform a professional examination and cleaning. Dentists have special equipment to help them identify and diagnose dental problems (including oral cancer) in their earliest stages, for the best chances of successful intervention.
When was your last dental check-up? Are you due for another visit? To make an appointment with Dr. Ingber or a member of his team, please call 888-549-7682 or send us an email today.