Common Brushing Mistakes

Posted on 10/11/2013 by Gregory A. Williams
Woman and man brushing teeth together in a bathroomEveryone knows that brushing, flossing, and checkups are best things you can do for your teeth, but many of us have long established bad habits that may cause harm to our oral health. Tigard dental professional Dr. Greg Williams and his team believe that by correcting these ineffective practices, you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong for your entire lifetime. Here's a few common brushing mistakes that many people are guilty of:

Don't Brush Right After A Meal

Most dental health experts say that it is good to wait a small amount of time after you eat to brush you teeth. Foods that contain acids and sugars can weaken the tooth enamel, and if you don't give your teeth a small break before you brush them, could actually brush that enamel away before it has a chance to harden again. This is especially true if you recently eaten something acidic. Waiting a half an hour in-between is a good rule of thumb.

Don't Start At The Same Spot

Do you always start your teeth brushing in the exact same spot? If you are guilty of this, you may be giving your choppers uneven attention. This could lead to uneven wear on some teeth, and not enough care on others. Switch it up next time you brush and see if you can spend a little more time on those spots that usually get a passing thought.

Not Too Hard

Brushing too hard, or over-brushing, can also lead to some nasty results including tooth sensitivity and even receding gums.  On your next visit, Portland dentist Dr. Greg Williams can see if you are brushing too vigorously. He may even recommend a soft or extra soft bristle on your toothbrush to counteract those effects. Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day while using a softer method while you do it.

Two Minutes and Don't Wait Too Long

When you do brush your teeth, it ‘s best if it takes two to three minutes. Some toothbrushes have timers, especially electric ones, but other people use a song or kitchen timer to help them cover all their teeth. Most importantly, you should take the time to carefully brush your entire mouth. Also, don't let too long go between brushings, as plaque containing harmful bacteria can grow and build up. This can increase the likelihood of inflammation of the gums and other oral health issues.

Make Sure You're Rinsing

Make sure that after you use your toothbrush, you rinse it well under a stream of water. Bacteria can easily start to grow on toothbrushes that are not fully cleaned, and the next time you use it, you could be putting harmful bacteria right back into your mouth.

Let It Dry

As we just pointed out, bacteria can grow easily on a toothbrush and those microorganisms love wet environments. By drying out the toothbrush you can eliminate the risk of it growing this bacteria.  A good shake to rid it of excess moisture at the end of your rinse is best. Wet brushes can also mean that the bristles can get misshapen or dented, and then the toothbrush won't work as it was intended.

Replacement Timing

Your toothbrush has a shelf life and that's usually three months. The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your brush every quarter. This helps makes sure the bristles are strong and clean and the brush can do its job correctly.

If you have any toothbrushing or other dental health questions, contact Dr. Williams or his staff today.

11820 SW King James Pl Ste. 40
Tigard, OR 97224-2481

Monday: 8am – 5pm
Tuesday: 7am – 3pm
Wednesday: 8am – 5pm
Thursday: 7am – 3pm
Friday: Closed

Gregory A. Williams DMD | | 503-620-2020
11820 SW King James Pl Suite 40 Tigard, OR 97224
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