Ask anyone what it takes to keep healthy teeth, and at some point (unless you’re talking to your one friend with no teeth) they’ll say: “Brush your teeth.” Brushing your teeth is one of the most simple and effective ways to ensure your teeth stay healthy in the long run. In fact, effective brushing can severely minimize the chance you have of getting a cavity, or developing gum disease. However, for some patients brushing is actually harder than it may seem.
While there’s never an excuse for laziness, there are a few mistakes to look out for when it comes to your daily dental routine as a family dentist in Downey, CA – we’re more than happy to point some of the biggest offenders out.
Brushing Mistake #1: Brushing too Soon After Meals
Many patients forget that the food you eat and the beverages you drink contain acids that can actively hurt your teeth. Typically, the first impulse you get when you feel the need to clean your teeth is to brush them right away. But don’t act too fast! By brushing before water or your saliva has had a chance to wash the acid off of your teeth, you’re actually helping the acid damage your enamel. Next time, give your saliva a chance to do its job. No need to rush from the table! For most people, a half-hour after meals should be fine. Remember: if you’d wait a half hour after eating to swim, do the same for your teeth!
Brushing Mistake #2: You Only Drink Bottled Water
While drinking water is never a bad thing, if you only drink water out of a plastic bottle you might want to reconsider. While water is always better than drinking a sugary soft drink, if you’re not drinking tap water you could be missing out on the valuable fluoride in your community’s water, which can help prevent (or even reverse) tooth decay. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that not all bottled water contains fluoride, and some of it contains very little. If this is a problem, consider purchasing a fluoride supplement.
Brushing Mistake #3: You’re BAD at Brushing
When it comes to brushing your teeth. Our family dentists have three tips that tend to help every patient. 1) Replace your toothbrush more often 2) Don’t rush! And finally 3) Hold it like an adult holds a pencil, not like a toddler holds a crayon.
Make sure you’re using a soft tooth brush, and brush every surface of your teeth thoroughly, including the front, back, and every side you can safely access. But on top of this, don’t do it too hard. Brushing too hard can contribute to receding gums, which can in turn lead to sensitivity in the given area. While this is incredibly common and not too serious, it’s still a small measure of discomfort that you shouldn’t have to deal with. How to Brush Properly When it comes to brushing properly, the name of the game is “gentle”. Gently, scrub using short horizontal movements, while holding your toothbrush the same way you would grip a pencil or pen. By holding your toothbrush loosely, you ensure you’re not using too much pressure. Many patients who grip their toothbrush with a fist could end up doing damage to their gums. On top of this, don’t rinse right after brushing, simply spit and let the toothpaste remnants do their job.