Most adults find brushing their teeth second nature. In general, the majority of people have a routine that they follow every day that involves brushing their teeth twice per day. But because this activity has grown so custom, the Perio NYC team finds that a lot of our patients have picked up some bad brushing habits.
Improper dental care can instigate a decline in overall health. Make sure you tackle your brushing mistakes early on to get your smile back on track!
Brushing Mistake #1: Using The Wrong Toothbrush
Most stores carry a massive variety of different toothbrush brands and styles, which can make the toothbrush aisle feel overwhelming. A lot of our New York City patients tell us that they really have no idea what type of toothbrush they should be using and end up grabbing one at random.
Choosing the right brush is essential. Next time you’re in the market for a new toothbrush, use these guidelines to help you make your selection:
- Size: Use a toothbrush with a head that fits your mouth. If you have a smaller mouth and find that reaching every corner and side of your teeth is difficult, opt for a toothbrush with a small head.
- Handle: The handle of your toothbrush should fit comfortably in your hand, much like a fork. Look for small or thin brushes if you have small hands.
- Bristles: Choose a brush with soft bristles. Brushes with medium or hard bristles are dangerous, as they can damage your delicate gum tissue and enamel. Most toothbrush packaging will indicate the bristle texture, so always double-check that you’re using the right one.
Brushing Mistake #2: Using The Wrong Toothpaste
Not all toothpaste is created equal. Your individual smile goals should determine which toothpaste you buy, so make sure that you know what you’re looking for when you head down the toothpaste aisle.
- Tartar Control: If your teeth are prone to buildup and you’re looking to keep them free of plaque, a tartar control toothpaste may be your best bet. Tartar control toothpaste works to protect the gums and teeth from gathering plaque that causes tooth decay.
- Desensitizing: Patients with sensitive teeth often find relief with desensitizing toothpaste. Utilizing chemical compounds that plug up the minuscule holes in the enamel, desensitizing toothpaste can keep your teeth from stinging when they come in contact with hot or cold foods and drinks.
- Whitening: Have your pearly-whites been looking a little dull? Consider a whitening toothpaste. These varieties generally contain a small amount of bleaching agents that work to rid your teeth of the yellowing stains.
- Children’s: When shopping for your children’s dental health, make sure to select a toothpaste that suits their unique needs. Choose a paste with a small amount of fluoride, as too much of the compound could actually damage their delicate teeth. Select a flavor that they don’t mind as well so brushing feels less like a chore and more like a treat.
Brushing Mistake #3: Not Brushing Long Enough
Perhaps you’re already aware that you’re making this mistake. Late at night or in the morning rush, it’s not unusual to want to quickly pull the toothbrush back and forth and move on. This is a huge mistake! If you don’t give yourself 2 minutes each time you brush, you’re not cleaning your teeth as you should.
2 minutes may not seem like a long time, but when you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror, it can feel more like 10. Find a song or a music video around 2 minutes long to play while you brush. The time goes by more quickly when you have something to focus on. Plus, most electric toothbrushes are automated to run for 2 minutes at a time as well, removing the guesswork from your brushing time.
Brushing Mistake #4: Overdoing It
While it may initially seem like a good idea initially, brushing your teeth too much can be almost as harmful as not brushing enough. Brushing more than 3 times per day can wear down your tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. That’s right—too much brushing can cause cavities!
When plaque first forms, it’s actually so soft that you can remove it with a rag if you can reach it. So when it comes to brushing, thoroughness is more important than toughness. Doing it 2-3 times per day for 2 minutes at a time, combined with good flossing habits and regular dentist visits is usually enough to keep your teeth healthy, bright, and white.
Brushing Mistake #5: Overusing Your Toothbrush
Don’t neglect to change out your toothbrush. If your brush is looking frayed and broken, toss it in the trash and get yourself a new one. Frayed bristles can’t clean as effectively as tight ones, which will allow plaque and bacteria to remain on your teeth. Plus, worn bristles can damage your gum tissue, giving way to an entire host of oral health problems that you undoubtedly want to avoid.
Change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 months at least. But if your bristles are looking a little frayed before that, do your teeth a favor and change it out.
Visit Perio NYC For More Toothbrush Tips
If your oral health routine has been feeling a little lackluster lately, don’t worry. The Perio NYC team is here to help! After we perform a thorough examination, we’ll know the proper ways to treat your teeth and revitalize your smile this spring.
Brushing your teeth is an important component to your oral health routine, but so is visiting the dentist twice per year. Schedule an appointment with our New York City office to make this season the best yet for your oral health!