Most of us understand that oral hygiene is of great importance. Cavities and other oral health problems can be a painful and expensive issue to deal with. However, knowing how important oral hygiene is doesn’t necessarily mean you are following all the right steps. Read on to discover seven common oral hygiene mistakes you must avoid.
- Brushing too vigorously. Yes, brushing your teeth is vital, but that doesn’t mean that the harder, the better. Scrubbing too aggressively can actually damage enamel and contribute to gum recession. Common signs that you are scrubbing too hard include increased tooth sensitivity and your toothbrushes becoming frayed in a short time.
- Cleaning only your teeth. Oral health is not only a matter of tooth health. Your tongue and gums are also important. Strangely enough, your toothbrush is not only useful for cleaning your teeth. Keep your tongue healthy by gently scrubbing your tongue with your toothbrush. Brush your gums while brushing your teeth a little as well.
- Not flossing. Even among those who brush their teeth every day, not flossing remains common. This is a huge mistake, since flossing is almost as important as brushing. Flossing is the only way to remove the food debris that inevitably gets stuck between teeth. Mouthwash is not a replacement for flossing. Mouthwash helps to disinfect the mouth, but does not effectively target food debris.
- Brushing too quickly. Brushing your teeth properly will take a few minutes. Trying to sprint through brushing will simply mean you leave the job undone, allowing food remnants to remain on your teeth. Teeth in the back of the mouth are particularly likely to be overlooked. Overcome these problems by aiming to brush for at least three full minutes.
- Eating a lot of tooth-harming foods. As valuable as brushing your teeth, flossing, and the other elements of oral hygiene are, they cannot entirely counteract the ill effects of foods that are terrible for your teeth. Cutting down on foods that destroy enamel is wise. Some of the worst foods for teeth include high-sugar foods such as desserts or soda pop, acidic products such as alcohol or coffee, and refined carbohydrates such as white bread.
- Brushing only once a day. Of course, brushing your teeth only once each day is a lot better than not brushing at all — but it still isn’t sufficient. It takes about eight hours for food debris to harden into plaque on the teeth. This fact means that brushing just once a day gives plenty of opportunity for plaque to form, ultimately leading to more calories. Try to brush twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
- Not regularly visiting the dentist. Ultimately, you cannot take care of your oral health entirely on your own. The expertise of a dentist is required, especially when it comes to serious issues such as cavities. However, it doesn’t make sense to wait until a toothache definitively tells you something is wrong. Nip potential oral health issues in the bud by visiting your dentist at least once a year; more often if you have a history of serious teeth problems.
Don’t be alarmed if you find that you have been making some of the errors described above. You have plenty of opportunity to do better. Avoid these big mistakes and your oral health will surely improve.