Many of us turn into robots when we brush our teeth. We stand in front of a sink, reach for the toothbrush and toothpaste, and then mindlessly go to town for a short time. Some people are lucky to get even 30 seconds of toothbrushing.
The truth is, very few people actually brush their teeth properly. But where there are mistakes, there are ways to fix them.
Here are six of the most common toothbrushing mistakes people make everyday.
1. The wrong brush is used.
With so many toothbrushes on the market, how do you know which to choose?
The first rule of thumb is to make sure your brush can cover the places that need covering. That’s everywhere you should be able to reach with a toothbrush. It can be a power toothbrush or a manual one. The size of the brush’s head is important, too, especially if you have a smaller mouth. Brushes also have various sizes of handles and different angles. Some are more flexible than others.
Also, use a toothbrush with soft bristles. They are gentler on your gums. Hard bristles can wear down your tooth structure.
2. You are too aggressive.
When it comes to brushing, harder isn’t better. Plaque is soft and loose, so you don’t have to scrub. Think of brushing your teeth as more of a “massage” than a hard scrub.
3. You hurry.
You should brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time.
4. Your toothbrush is old.
When you find a good toothbrush, it’s sometimes hard to give it up. But when you see changes in the bristles — when they become discolored, bent, or dirty looking — it’s time to toss it.
Toothbrushes lose their powers when the bristles become frayed. So change it at least every 3 to 4 months.
5. You ignore the gum line.
Brushing your teeth, it turns out, means brushing your whole tooth. Or at least everything you can get to with your brush. And that includes just under the gum.
How do you do that? Brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line, then go for the rest of the tooth, with strokes that roll up and down.
Tilt the brush up and down to get the inside of your front teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too. That’ll get rid of bacteria.
6. Your timing is off.
It’s tempting, sometimes, to immediately go to the restroom to get rid of the remnants of that meal you just ate. While that’s better than not brushing at all, you might want to back off just 15 or 20 minutes. That’s long enough for the saliva in your mouth to do its work on the acid before you dive in.
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