You’re probably brushing your teeth wrong: common tooth brushing mistakes

I know many of us have been brushing our teeth for long enough and don’t think you are not making any mistake. However, most of us have been consistently making some of these mistakes. Here are some common mistakes that we all make once in a while in brushing our teeth.

Picking the right toothbrush
For brushing your teeth adequately you need to make sure that you have a decent toothbrush such as soft bristled toothbrush. It is very important that it’s a soft bristle toothbrush to prevent further damage to the gums and the teeth. Manual soft bristle toothbrushes are great if they are used properly. Generally, electric powered brushes are more effective than manual soft bristle brushes because of user error. Most of the time people that are using regular soft bristle brush use it way too slow and way too quickly. At least the electric powered brush is doing a little more work. It gets everywhere and avoids missing any area that needs to get cleaned. And there is a timer that you can set to make sure that you are cleaning your teeth long enough. However, both brushes are equally effective in dental biofilm removal if used properly.

Choosing the right toothpaste
When choosing the right toothpaste you need to the important ingredients that should be in the toothpaste. Fluoride is the most important ingredient of toothpaste. You don’t even have to use toothpaste to brush your teeth since the goal of brushing is to remove food and debris. Toothpaste isn’t doing anything but making your breath fresh and providing fluoride to your teeth. Pyrophosphates are the ones that are for tartar or calculus control. There are toothpastes that is marketed towards being good for your gums and antimicrobial. There are also those that have potassium nitrate, strontium chloride and sodium citrate that are great desensitiser which is good for sensitive teeth.

Toothbrush for life
It is important to know how long you have been using your toothbrush. You need to change or replace your toothbrush every three months. Most people tend to get lazy and not think about the effect of having their tooth brush for too long. The bristles of the toothbrush move away from the centre the toothbrush. This does not allow you to brush your teeth effectively and they tend to injure the gums. As soon as you see an initial movement in the bristle of your toothbrush you need to replace it.

Common tooth brushing mistakes
Photo: Moose Photos, Pexels.

Not brushing long enough
You should brush your teeth for two minutes two times a day. If you are not using an electric powered toothbrush set a timer using your watch or phone to make sure you are cleaning your teeth thoroughly.

Sharing your toothbrush
Regardless if you are a husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and son or best friends for life never ever share your tooth brush to anyone. Sharing your toothbrush means that you are sharing the bacteria and germs inside your mouth. If you are sick, have a cold and flu chances are you are going to spread your virus to them.

How to brush your teeth properly
Take your toothbrush right to the teeth and in a slow circular motion gently to brush not only the tooth surfaces but also you want to get the gum line and the interface between the tooth and the gum line. You will basically go through and brush in a very small circular motion going around and making sure the bristles come in contact with every single tooth. Do not press your brush so hard against your tooth because the bristles will just spread. Then do the brush method on your chewing surfaces. Brush your tongue with your toothbrush or you can use a tongue scrapper. Then floss your teeth by pressing around and wrapping around your tooth hugging the side surface to the left then to the right scrapping the sides of the teeth. Do this for at least two minutes twice a day for a better and healthy teeth and gums.

Dr. Cassandra Wee
Dr. Cassandra Wee
I am currently a dentist from North Sydney Dentistry. I am born in Sydney but grew up and studied in 8 different cities around the globe.  This has given me very unique experiences and exposed me to different cultures around the world. I feel privileged to have lived my life in such a diverse way, and draws on all these experiences to help me to connect with and relate to people on many levels. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling, music, piano, relaxing on the beach, tennis, and stays fit by exercising regularly.
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