Almost everyone when asked if they clean their teeth properly will likely be adamant that they know what they are doing when it comes to their oral hygiene. However, there is much more to maintaining healthy teeth and gums than running a toothbrush over your teeth a couple of times a day.
At Sharrow Dental, our dentist Chelmsford expert clinicians have put together the most common teeth cleaning errors that they see on a daily basis which can help you to enhance and improve your technique and ensure that you keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Not Brushing For Long Enough
It is recommended that you brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day, ideally once in the morning and again in the evening before bed. However, it is estimated that instead of brushing for the suggested 120 seconds that the average person brushes for just 45-70, less than half the recommended time! Over the weeks, months and years this amounts to a huge loss of cleaning time and can affect your overall oral health.
We recommend that you find a way to track or time your 2 minutes that works for you, whether it’s a 2 minute sand timer, egg timer, phone alarm or stopwatch. There are even electric toothbrushes that buzz after 30 seconds, allowing you to break your brushing down into 4 x 30 second sections of the mouth if you want to.
Replacing Toothbrushes and Toothbrush Heads
It is advised that you change your toothbrush or electronic toothbrush head every 3 months. Continuing to use older brushes can make cleaning much more ineffective due to the bristles wearing down over time. If you need help remembering, then set a reminder in your phones calendar to help you.
It is also recommended that if you have been unwell that you make the swap, even if it’s not due yet as nasty bacteria can grow on the brush and potentially infect you again.
Rinsing After Brushing
This is probably the one that surprises people the most. A lot of patients have the habit of brushing their teeth and then rinsing their mouth with either water or mouthwash. However, the mantra used by dentists is to always ‘spit, don’t rinse’ after brushing because when you do you wash away the enamel protecting fluoride from the toothpaste.
This is a tricky habit that people often don’t want to break but it really is what is best for your teeth.
Incorrect Brushing Technique
Using the wrong amount of pressure whilst brushing can negatively affect your teeth and gums.
Too soft and you increase the chance of a build-up of decay or pieces of food and bacteria working their way into sneaky little gaps and crevices between the teeth. But too hard and you run the risk of causing your teeth to wear and your gums to recede.
For those who don’t feel confident or know they can be heavy handed at times, there are electric toothbrushes you can buy which have a sensor and a light on the brush will flash to alert you that you are brushing too hard.
The ideal brushing technique will be holding the brush at a slight angle, instead of square to the teeth and to brush tooth by tooth instead of large side to side scrubbing motions that most people use and be sure to cover all surfaces of the teeth, the front, the flat surface and behind the teeth.
Flossing is used to help remove stubborn plaque from between your teeth which the toothbrush can’t reach. When you don’t floss, and the plaque is not removed it builds up and turns to calcified deposits on the teeth that can lead to gum disease and cavities.
Try to get in the habit of daily flossing and if you can, use it alongside interdental brushes which can clean the sides of the teeth that your toothbrush tends to miss.
Don’t Forget Your Tongue
A lot of people miss this step but cleaning your tongue is a great way to help prevent bad breath and the build-up of nasty bacteria which tends to linger on the surface.
Make sure you clean your tongue after brushing with the bristles of the brush or a separate tongue scraper tool if you prefer which is also effective.
Get Professional Advice From The Experts
If you would like more support or advice on oral hygiene and keeping your teeth and gums healthy then Sharrow Dental are here to help. Simply get in touch via telephone or our contact page and one of our friendly team will be happy to discuss your needs with and if required, get you booked in to see one of our expert clinicians at our dentist in Chelmsford.