Teeth brushing mistakes you're making
You brush your teeth because you want pleasant breath and a nice, white smile.
But are you brushing correctly? or at the right time?
You are brushing at the wrong time
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day - three times is better.
Brushing before bed is a must: Removing bacteria from your mouth prevents them attacking your teeth overnight.
Before breakfast, brush your teeth to remove the bacteria and plaque that has accumulated overnight.
You can also brush after lunch - but not more: Brushing too often can damage your gums.
You are brushing and spitting
Once you have brushed your teeth, you should not rinse your mouth: Just spit out the toothpaste. This will leave a coating of fluoride on your teeth which helps prevent tooth decay by inhibiting the chemical processes of plaque bacteria.
You are not brushing for long enough - or for too long
You should brush 2 to 3 minutes each time: Anything less and you may not properly clean your teeth. Brushing for longer may irritate your gums.
You are using the wrong toothbrush
Do not shop for your toothbrush on the basis of price or color: The key in choosing a toothbrush is head size and bristle hardness.
The brush should be the right size for your mouth. You can tell if it is too big if you are struggling to open your mouth to brush.
Buy a brush with bristles that are soft, as hard bristles can irritate your gums - especially if you brush too hard. The bristles should be able to remove the plaque but not damage your teeth.
You are brushing the wrong way
The recommended way to brush your teeth is not with horizontal strokes along your gums, but with the current method recommended by the British Dental Health Foundation is to place the brush at 45 degrees against your gum line and move it in small circular movements on all the surfaces of every tooth.
Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower; keeping the bristles angled against the gum line.
Brush the biting surfaces of the teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small circular strokes with the front part of the brush.
Brush your tongue: This will remove bacteria from its surface and freshen your breath.
You are not rinsing your toothbrush enough
Bacteria grows on your toothbrush, so it is important to rinse it before and after use: This will remove any toothpaste that may be left on the brush.
After rinsing the brush, shake out the moisture: A moist brush is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Your toothbrush is too old
The longer you use your toothbrush, the more bent and misshapen the bristles will become; undermining their effectiveness.
You should replace your brush every 3 months or once your bristles have lost their flexibility.
You are not flossing
If you are not flossing regularly, you are not cleaning your teeth properly. Bits of food will get stuck between your teeth in places where toothbrush bristles do not reach: The food will decay and bacteria will attack your teeth and gums.
The only way to remove food may be by flossing, which is why you should make a habit of doing so daily.
Buy the right floss for your teeth:
- Waxed for closely-spaced teeth; or,
- tougher floss for rough tooth-edges.
Make sure you use enough of the floss, as reusing parts of it simply moves bacteria between teeth but does not remove them.