Common Mistakes When Brushing Your Teeth

Have you ever wondered whether you’re brushing your teeth correctly? Well, it might shock you to know that when it comes to dental hygiene, thousands of people get it wrong every day. But all that can be corrected with a quick read of this article as we uncover the common mistakes people make when brushing their teeth – and how to correct them, of course. 

The importance of brushing your teeth correctly

Cleaning your teeth well and maintaining good oral hygiene has more benefits than simply giving you a sparkling smile. The main reason oral hygiene is so important is to protect your teeth from developing cavities and prevent gum disease. Over time, plaque and tartar form on your teeth. When left, plaque hardens and turns into tartar. This substance is calcified bacteria and can pose significant risks to the health of your teeth.    Dr Minoo Ghamari, a dentist from Gorgeous Smile, Melbourne, expresses her concerns on the topic of oral hygiene, saying that brushing your teeth properly and flossing are essential tasks in keeping your teeth healthy. 

Some common mistakes when brushing

As kids, we’re always told to brush our teeth twice a day, but often, parents don’t encourage their kids to perform the necessary tasks to clean their teeth properly. This leads them to form habits like brushing only or for too short a time. Here, we shed some light on some of the mistakes we make when looking after our teeth. Check them out:

Not flossing first

According to the Australian Dental Association, only 1 out of 4 people floss regularly in Australia. That means a total 25% of Australians actually floss. Scary right, especially if you know the consequences of neglecting flossing.   Dr Ghamari urges Australians to floss as it is a necessary part of oral hygiene, saying, “By flossing first you remove food from in between your teeth which can then be brushed away with your toothbrush, removing all the particles you’ve just dislodged.” She continues by adding that toothpaste is also more effective when it can get to parts of your mouth that are cleaned by flossing first, resulting in a better clean overall. 

Brushing for too little time

In most cases, the suggested time for brushing your teeth is two minutes. These days, electric toothbrushes even have built-in timers to help people brush their teeth for the correct time. When you rush your brushing, you can miss certain areas or even get too rough with your teeth. A two-minute brush gives enough time to get to every area of your mouth with an efficient brush. 

Using an electric toothbrush incorrectly

Electric toothbrushes are a common item for oral hygiene these days. Many people use them because of their convenience and to get a better clean. To some it even feels like a massage for your teeth and gums. However, as Dr Ghamari noted, people often use them incorrectly, which can make them less effective.    She says, “They are designed to be held against the tooth and gum at a 45-degree angle to do the hard task of cleaning for you.” Dr Ghamari also points out that if you’re using your electric toothbrush like a manual one, you could potentially damage your gums, which could lead to gum recession in the future. 

They brush their teeth at the wrong time

Many people choose to brush their teeth after eating breakfast, thinking that this gives them a better clean as we go into the day. Others also do it for the fresh mouthfeel you get after eating – goodbye bad breath! However, Dr Ghamari shares with us why this is actually the wrong way to do it, in fact, we should actually be brushing our teeth prior to eating.   Dr Ghamari explains that after you eat, your mouth becomes acidic to help break down food particles. Saliva acts as a base to neutralise the acidity in your mouth but doesn’t get to all of it, unfortunately. When you brush your teeth after eating, you pick up the acidic particles and spread them throughout your mouth, rubbing them into the enamel and putting the protective qualities of your teeth at risk.    In addition to this, she also explained how fast bacteria develops in the mouth. “Your teeth carry between 1,000 and 100,000 bacteria, and these multiply every five hours”, she said. When you eat before brushing, you’re swallowing all this bacteria. So, that’s why it’s suggested that you brush before eating in the morning. 

The correct way to brush your teeth

Generally, most people don’t remember when or how they were taught to brush their teeth, because of how young we were. Since those younger days, not many people assume there’s a wrong way to brush your teeth and so they won’t explicitly explain how to do it properly.    So, here’s a guide that’ll help you get it right. Here’s how Dr Ghamari suggests you should floss and brush your teeth the right way:

How to floss your teeth:

  1. Take 18 inches of floss and wrap most around each middle finger
  2. Hold tight between thumbs and index fingers
  3. Gently slide up and down between teeth
  4. Curve floss around the base of each tooth, going under the gumline
  5. Don’t snap or force the floss
  6. Use a clean section for each tooth
  7. To remove, use a back-and-forth motion to lift away. If you feel resistance, then let go of one side of the floss and pull on the other. This will allow the floss to thread through your teeth

How to brush correctly

  1. Brush the outer surfaces of all teeth for about two minutes
  2. Hold the brush at a 45° angle against the gumline
  3. Use short, back-and-forth strokes
  4. Brush the inner surfaces of teeth using the same method
  5. Clean chewing surfaces, especially back teeth
  6. Brush your tongue for fresher breath

Consistency is key

As we wrap things up, it needs to be said that the key ingredient to healthy oral hygiene is consistency. If you apply these steps above consistently you’ll notice a clear difference in the health of your teeth and hopefully in your budget as well with fewer dentist visits. Need a check-up, visit Dr Ghamari at Gorgeous Smiles in Melbourne and they’ll get you sorted.