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Five Common Brushing Mistakes
October 10th, 2011 by Dr. Watson

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, which makes it the perfect time for Dr. Watson to talk about how to properly brush your teeth. Many people don’t know the right techniques to use when cleaning their teeth, so hopefully this post will give you some quick tips.

The biggest thing to remember is that any brushing is better than no brushing, so don’t be discouraged if you are making some mistakes. If you still have questions, try checking out our oral hygiene page, or always feel free to contact us!

1) Not Brushing for Long Enough

Do you know how long you’re really supposed to brush? Two minutes, twice a day, says the American Dental Hygienists Association. Try timing yourself tonight and see how you measure up. Chances are, you aren’t brushing for long enough, as the majority of Americans aren’t. Brushing for longer can be a simple way to have a better oral hygiene routine.

2) Brushing Too Hard

Many people think that if they just brush hard enough, then they don’t have to brush their teeth for very long. This simply isn’t the case. In fact, brushing your teeth too hard will actually damage the enamel, and cause much more harm than good. A great way to keep from brushing too hard is to get an electronic toothbrush. If this isn’t an option, just make sure to get the softest toothbrush available and try to take it easy on your teeth.

3) Concentrating on the Tooth Surface

Without even realizing it, a lot of people concentrate their brushing power on the surface of the tooth. If you think about it, this doesn’t make much sense, because food particles aren’t very likely to get stuck on the front of your tooth. Food and bacteria get stuck around the edges and in the corners of your teeth, especially against the gums. The best technique is to concentrate your brushing power (gently) on the gum line each time you brush.

4) Skipping Teeth

It seems like common sense, but you need to brush all of your teeth! An old dentist’s saying goes, “Only brush the teeth you want to keep,” and we’ll just assume you want to keep all of them. The most frequent mistake is accidently skipping over teeth as you flip your brush around. If you’re right handed, this probably means the teeth in the front right corner of your mouth. Just remember to brush a little bit further than you think you have to before flipping the toothbrush, so that you are overlapping in each direction.

5) Thinking Brushing Will Kill All Bacteria

Although it would be nice if brushing was all we had to do to maintain the health of our mouths, this simply isn’t the case. In addition to a proper brushing technique, it is just as important to use floss and mouthwash as well. Finally don’t forget to keep your twice-yearly hygiene exams, because there are places that only we can clean, and problems that only we can diagnose. If you are due for an oral hygiene appointment, call Jackson Center for Smiles today and we will fit you in!