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Smile Elements Orthodontics Blog

5 Common Mistakes We Make When Brushing Our Teeth

Posted by Dr. Hisham Badawi | November 21 2019

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing and flossing your teeth is a very important part of your day, you want to ensure you are doing everything possible to maintain a healthy smile. While going through orthodontic treatment it is very important to use the proper tools to keep you on track to your dream smile. Many people don’t realize that they are making small mistakes that could be causing them big problems! Here are five mistakes to avoid while brushing your teeth!

  • Brushing Too Hard

A very common misconception is that the harder you brush your teeth, the more likely it is that you’re removing excess buildup, hardened plaque and tartar and anything else that could potentially have a negative effect on your oral health. In reality, brushing too hard wreaks havoc on your tooth enamel and your orthodontic work. This can lead to serious conditions such as gum recession over time. The bristles of your toothbrush are strong enough on their own to properly clean your teeth and brackets, any extra pressure being added will only be damaging over time.

If you’re brushing too hard with the intent to remove plaque and tartar, you should keep in mind that only your dentist is able to properly and safely remove things like that. They have the right tools, equipment and experience to clean your teeth and restore your oral health. If you do have any concerns about your dental hygiene, remember to bring them up to your dentist at your next appointment. They’ll be able to give you brushing and flossing tips so you can maintain your oral hygiene at home.

  • Not Brushing Before Bed

While it’s important to brush two times per day no matter what, the times that you brush at actually do matter for your oral health and hygiene.

Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth before going to sleep, due to the way saliva production works both while you’re awake, and while you’re asleep. While awake, saliva works to rid your mouth of debris, particles of food, and bacteria. It works in accordance with brushing, flossing, and drinking lots of water in order to keep your oral health in check. While you’re sleeping, saliva production actually decreases. This may be why you often experience dry mouth at night and bad breath in the morning.

In order to avoid leaving excess buildup on your teeth, tongue and brackets for long periods of time, make sure you make brushing your teeth a part of your nighttime routine. Ideally, you should also be brushing and flossing after large meals that may leave a lot of build-up in-between your teeth, or first thing in the morning to give you a fresh start to the day!

  • Not Changing Your Toothbrush Frequently Enough

Have you ever looked at your toothbrush and noticed it is extremely frayed and old looking? Your toothbrush looking very worn down is a sure sign it’s time for it to be changed.

To ensure you’re always doing an effective job of cleaning your orthodontic work, you should change your toothbrush minimum every 3-4 months. If you’ve recently been sick, traveling, or have experienced other conditions in which your toothbrush could become contaminated, it’s best to change it out right away. When in doubt, just look at the bristles - bristles that are very damaged and old looking won’t do a good job of cleaning, and it’s pointless to keep it around. You also don’t want to make yourself sick with a contaminated toothbrush!

  • Not Brushing Long Enough

The ADA recommends that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes. This minimum amount of time is necessary to properly clean all of your teeth, gums, orthodontic work and tongue. You should also consider brushing for even longer than two minutes, up to as much as 3-4. You don’t want to over brush, but it’s important to get every area.

  • Watching Yourself Brush

It’s very easy to start multitasking during your nighttime routine, especially during something like brushing your teeth. Many people pull out their phones to surf Facebook or Instagram while completing this very important part of this nighttime ritual, and it really steals your attention away from the important matter at hand.

Though it may not be the most scenic of views, you should be watching yourself brush in the mirror so you know you’re doing it properly, especially if you are new to braces. Watching yourself brush ensures that you aren’t leaving any tooth, bracket, area, or crevice untouched with your toothbrush and that every area is getting the exact amount of attention it deserves. If you always miss certain areas of your mouth when brushing, it could lead to tooth decay or other oral disease and afflictions as the problem continues to persist.

Topics: Orthodontics, Braces

Written by Dr. Hisham Badawi

An accomplished clinician, researcher, speaker and subject matter expert, with broad, in-depth and hands-on experience in many verticals within the healthcare space including technology applications in clinical practice, clinical research, biomechanics, bioinformatics, intellectual property, software development, clinical data sciences, and healthcare data privacy regulations.

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