When it comes to oral health and hygiene, most of us know that there are consequences if proper care is not taken. What many people don’t know is that, for a lot of our patients, mistakes you are making when it comes to your oral health might be the cause of your dental problems. Improper oral hygiene practices can lead to a number of dental health problems; tooth decay and gum disease being just the tip of the iceberg.
To maintain good oral hygiene, it’s important that you brush 3 times a day, rinse and floss, and take care to address the health of the rest of your mouth like your tongue, tonsils and inner cheeks. Even when you’re doing all that, there are some mistakes that many of us still end up making.
- Too Much Pressure While Flossing
Flossing is a very good habit, and is absolutely recommended by the American Dental Association. Getting little bits of food and debris from the spaces in between your teeth can be vital in helping to prevent cavities, inflammation and other oral problems – especially if your teeth are crowded. Having said that, we see many cases where individuals use too much pressure and snap the floss between their teeth. This causes their gums can get cut and bleed and can sometimes lead to secondary infections that damage overall health. Floss should be gently guided in a zigzag pattern so that you do not hurt your gums.
- Brushing Hard
Brushing with force is just as bad as flossing with too much force – and for much the same reason. You may think you are getting the stains out and are doing a good job at it, but brushing too hard is just not good at all for your teeth. While you think you’re removing stains, you’re actually wearing down your enamel and making your teeth weaker. This type of brushing eventually leads to lost enamel, tooth sensitivity and the reduction of gums.
- Brushing Right after a Meal
It’s common knowledge that you should brush after a meal, right? Wrong. Dentists often encourage individuals to brush after they have had a meal so that the food does not remain on their teeth, decay, and cause oral health issues. What isn’t said often enough is that you should never, NEVER brush right after you’ve finished eating. It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but experts agree that it is better to wait a while to brush your teeth after you have eaten. Think of it like swimming after eating and wait for at least 30 minutes. Why? As you eat, the sugars and acids in your food temporarily weaken the enamel of the tooth. If you brush right away, you end up wearing down your slightly softened enamel. Waiting a half hour allows that enamel time to begin to re-harden.
- Brushing in the Same Pattern
Brushing in a regular pattern is something most people are guilty of. Even those of us who know better still do it sometimes without realizing it. People are creatures of habit. Brushing the same way each day can cause your teeth to get uneven care and to be worn down more in some places than others over time. Start at a different place in your mouth every time you brush; it will give you a better chance of your teeth being cleaned evenly overall.