Ok, so most of you guys would be brushing for 20, 30 or maybe 50 years. Despite that, it is crucial for you to read this, as I come across these few brushing mistakes made by most adults so often, and sometimes the damage done is irreparable on its own and requires extensive dental treatment. In fact, I use to make quite a few of these before my dental school started. As of today, I have managed to tackle most of them, now it is your turn. Let’s get started.
Brushing too hard: this is so common that it had to be my first point. We brush our teeth to remove dirt from our teeth, not the layers of the tooth itself. So yes I will get to the correct technique of brushing towards the end of the blog, but the takeaway here is do not brush too hard.
Using the wrong toothbrush: we are spoilt for choice these days for everything, including a toothbrush. And a lot of people do not use it to their advantage. Always go for a toothbrush with soft bristles and in case of sensitive teeth, super-soft bristles. The tags which read medium and hard are a complete no-no. They cause the protective layer of enamel to wear off leaving you with sensitive teeth in a few years. Also, buy a brush with a smaller head, it makes cleaning of the back areas easier. A big toothbrush head might not efficiently clean your difficult to access areas well.
Brushing for a very short duration: The average brushing time of adults is less than one minute. Few studies even go to the extent of saying that it is less than 45 seconds. And we need to brush for at least 2 minutes, aka 30 seconds per quadrant. The first few times I put a timer and brushed, it seemed like such a drag. So grab a sand timer, use your phone, a stopwatch or get an electric toothbrush, make sure to dedicate 2 minutes for your pearly whites, twice a day.
Skipping tongue cleaning and flossing: sure you have a lot of work to accomplish, meetings to attend, a college lecture to reach for or cooking for your children. But tooth brushing is a combined package of brushing, tongue cleaning, and flossing, nothing being optional. There a zillion microbes residing on your tongue, and if not removed lead to a lot of oral problems from bad breath to gum diseases. You can have a separate tongue scraper or a brush with the back surface with a scraping design, however you like. And as for flossing, it is required to clean those surfaces of teeth, which a toothbrush can’t reach, like the sides where the teeth touch each other. Your dentist can also help you out with this on your next visit.
Storing the toothbrush in the bathroom: The bathroom is humid most of the time, making it a very optimum environment for the germs to grow on your brush. And that is not even the worst part, for an arrangement where the toilet seat and the shelf are close, every time someone flushes, the microparticles from the pot land onto your brush. Icky situation. Yes, you can close the lid on your toilet seat to avoid this, but the same action cannot be expected from children and all other friends and family. In that case, keeping them on your nightstand is a good option.
Using the same old brush for too long: brushes are meant to last for 200 uses, assuming you brush twice a day 3 months is the maximum it can sustain. Post this, its time for toothbrush shopping.