Moffitt Restorative Dentistry

10 Tooth Brushing Mistakes

Mar 10 2014

How good are you at Toothbrushing?

Mistake #1: Not using the right toothbrush

-If it’s a strain to open your mouth to brush, your toothbrush may be too big. Consider a smaller brush to help with access and accuracy. Find a brush with a comfortable handle (should be as comfortable as holding a fork). Electric or Manual? Your preference – those that brush well with a manual can do just as good of job as those who brush well with an electric toothbrush. You as the brusher is responsible for making sure your toothbrush does the job!

Mistake #2: Not picking the right bristles

-Harder bristles does NOT mean a cleaner mouth. Hard bristles can damage gum tissue and teeth. Always use a soft-bristled brush – these bristles are sturdy enough to accurately remove plaque and bacteria.

Mistake #3: Not brushing often enough or long enough

-Brushing 2x/day for 2 minutes each time is recommended. Ideally, brushing 3x/day is best to make up for any surfaces that you may have missed previously. To help make 2
minutes go by faster, try watching TV to help bypass the time.

Mistake #4: Brushing too often or too hard

-Although brushing 3x/day for 2 minutes is ideal, it can also be abrasive and damaging if you’re not brushing gently enough. Brushing too hard or too often can lead to root
exposure, enamel erosion, and gum irritation.

Mistake #5: Not brushing correctly

Do not brush with horizontal strokes. Angle your brush at a 45-degree angle with half of the bristles on the gums and half on the teeth. Gently brush up and down on your teeth NOT across. Vertical or circular strokes are best. Don’t forget to brush the inner and chewing surfaces along with your tongue!

Mistake #6: Starting in the same place each time

Change up your brushing routine by starting at different parts of the mouth each time you brush. This way you will eventually cover all areas of the teeth and gums at
some point everytime you brush.

Mistake #7: Skipping inner tooth surfaces

The plaque you can’t see if just as important to remove as the plaque you can see! The tongue presses against the inner tooth surfaces all day providing a very bacterial
friendly area!

Mistake #8: Not following up with a rinse

Bacteria thrives in a wet environment and can grow easily on an un-rinsed toothbrush. Rinse your toothbrush after brushing to get rid of any leftover toothpaste.

Mistake #9: Not letting the toothbrush dry

-Again, bacteria thrives in a wet environment. Be sure to let your toothbrush fully dry so you avoid putting old bacteria back in your mouth.

Mistake #10: Not changing the toothbrush often enough

ADA recommends changing your toothbrush or brush head every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles look frayed. If the bristles start losing their normal flexibility or break apart, it’s time for a new one.  And don’t forget to change your brush when you get sick! No sense in trying to get better while brushing with the same infected toothbrush!

Good luck and keep brushing and flossing.  Call if you have any questions or concerns and Moffitt Restorative Dentistry.  763.427.1311

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