It's arguably one of the most basic self-care tasks, but here are some surprisingly common teeth brushing blunders that your dentist wants you to stop ASAP...
We're taught to brush our teeth usually from when we can say #Lush, but could we actually be getting the whole mouth + toothbrush business wrong? If you’re used to having a good rinse after brushing and giving your pearly whites a once over after breakfast then you could be in for a dental revelation. After some research, we've discovered that we’ve been misusing mouthwash and not polishing to our full potential. Guilty as charged.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to teeth brushing..
1. You're not brushing for long enough...
Does anyone actually know long you’re supposed to clean your teeth? Seconds? Minutes? If you’re just waving a toothbrush around your mouth until you get bored, we’ve got some tips for you:
So, the official standard brushing time stands at two minutes. This is the optimum time to give your pearly whites a good clean. It's suggested that many tooth decay issues are the result of people not spending long enough cleaning, and as a result, they miss bits.
Speaking of which…
2. You don't have a plan of action...
Sometimes our thoughts take us away whilst brushing, some dream of marshmallows, some of puppies, and some daydream as to how to achieve world peace. But, not focusing on the job in hand is also a culprit where cavities are concerned:
Top dentist Dr. Milad believes:
"You’ve got to clean your teeth systematically to get the most benefit. Break down your brushing time so that you spend 30 seconds on the bottom right corner of your mouth, including inside and outside of teeth, then move to the bottom left and repeat. Do top right and top left and you should have your entire mouth covered. Think upstairs, downstairs, in and out."
Similarly, your technique matters more than the brush or tool you use, but always make sure that your brush is fresh and not worn down or fuzzy.
3. You're brushing after breakfast
Most people know not to brush our teeth right after a bowl of lush Frosted Flakes, but it turns out that cleaning just before we dash out of the door isn’t ideal, and here’s why:
"We should be cleaning our teeth before breakfast, ideally just as soon as we wakeis because, while we’re asleep, plaque and bacteria build up in our mouth (causing morning breath) and if we have breakfast before brushing, we’re essentially feeding that bacteria as well as feeding ourselves."...gross.
So basically there are greedy mouth goblins that are loving that piece of toast as much as you are. So when's best to brush?
"If possible, try to leave 20 to 30 minutes after brushing teeth to eat breakfast. This will allow the fluoride to coat the teeth and neutralize the bacteria that cause tooth decay."
4. You're going OTT on mouthwash
For gals that get through mouthwash by the barrel, we were shocked to hear this nugget of washing wisdom:
"If you’re brushing your teeth effectively, you don’t actually need mouthwash. It can have a detrimental effect if used directly after brushing as it can take away the fluoride “shield” that toothpaste leaves behind."
But, that’s not to say that mouthwash doesn’t have its uses - it’s a question of timing and situation:
"mouthwash can be useful if you’re prone to dental infections or cavities, but I recommend using it at a separate time of day to when you brush your teeth. Have a rinse at work after lunch or a snack, or as soon as you get home in the evening."
5. You're ignoring your tongue
When was the last time you gave your tongue a good old scraping? Well, Dr Milad feels really passionately about this one:
"We in the USA are some of the worst offenders when it comes to not cleaning our tongues. If yours is coated in a white (or any other colored) film, it needs cleaning, ideally every day. Using a purpose-designed tongue brush or a tongue scraper, clean from back to front, and make it the last thing you do in your tooth brushing routine."
A less than fresh tongue is also a prime suspect when it comes to bad breath, so all the more reason to sweep off last night’s curry (bleurgh).
6. You haven't embraced technology
We know that there’s nothing bad about a manual toothbrush if used correctly, but disregard tooth tech at your own risk - as with almost every other area of our lives, clever technology can have a transformative effect on both our habits and health:
"Electic toothbrushes are brilliant as to an extent they do the action for you. You just need to make sure that you hold your brush in the right places and cover the whole of your mouth. You can do a bad job with an electric toothbrush, but many brushes now have sensors to warn you if you’re scrubbing or applying too much pressure, plus timers make sure that you’re brushing your teeth for the right amount of time."
"Even better, some brushes now have Bluetooth installed to connect with an app, and this can really help you to identify how you’re brushing, whether you’re missing anything, for general education and to encourage good brushing practice and routines. I think that all toothbrushes will be installed with reminders and features such as this in the future. We use technology and apps to help to sleep, eat well, exercise and organize our lives, so why not to enhance our dental health? It’s only a matter of time until it becomes the norm."
Introducing our 360 Automatic Sonic Whitening Brush. Perfect for those of you out there with packed mornings. Simply switch it on, pop it in & enjoy the magic of a dentist clean feeling whilst UV whitening at the same time.
- More effective at removing plaque
- Easier for people with limited mobility
- Electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you. They may be helpful for anyone with limited mobility, such as people with carpal tunnel, arthritis or developmental disabilities.
- Built-in timers - A timer built into an electric toothbrush can help you brush your teeth long enough to sufficiently remove plaque from your teeth and gums.
- May cause less waste - When it’s time for a new toothbrush, you only have to replace an electric toothbrush head in many cases, so it may be less wasteful than throwing away a full manual toothbrush.
- Improves your focus while brushing - At least
one studyfound that people were more focused when brushing their teeth using an electric toothbrush. This improved people’s overall experience brushing and could potentially improve how well you clean your teeth.
- Among people with appliances who already had good oral health, plaque levels were about the same, whether they used an electric toothbrush or not. But if you find it difficult to clean your mouth while having orthodontic therapy, the electric toothbrush may improve your oral health.
- Fun for kids - not all kids are interested in brushing their teeth. If an electric toothbrush is more engaging to your child, it can help accomplish good oral cleaning and set healthy habits.
- Safe for gums
- When used properly, an electric toothbrush won't hurt your gums or damage enamel but instead promote overall oral health.