When it comes to cleaning teeth, you’re probably pretty confident you’re doing it right. After all, a good brush twice a day is all that’s really needed to keep teeth clean and avoid dental problems…isn’t it?
If only it was that simple.
Despite the fact most of us have been cleaning our teeth since we were knee-high, very few people actually brush their teeth as well as they should.
67% of adults clean their teeth at least twice a day, but 29% admit to only brushing once – and it’s best not to dwell on the other 2%! But it’s not just how often we brush that’s the issue. There are a host of other common mistakes that could be impacting your oral health.
Read on to discover if you’re getting it right…
Top teeth cleaning mistakes
#1 Not brushing for long enough
You might be meticulous about brushing twice a day – but do you brush for long enough?
This is one of the top offenders when it comes to cleaning blunders. The recommended time is 2 minutes, but the average person spends just 45 seconds, falling far short. If you struggle to judge the length of time, try counting in your head (this will also help you to focus on the task rather than mindlessly brushing), put a timer in the bathroom, or invest in a toothbrush that does the counting for you. There are a number of clever brushes with built-in timers that not only tell you when 2 minutes is up, but will buzz or vibrate when it’s time to move to a different section of the mouth.
#2 Brushing at the wrong time
Eat breakfast and then head straight to the bathroom to brush your teeth? Don’t!
Instead, it’s recommended to wait at least 30 minutes. This is because the acids found in foods, such as your morning fruit juice, remove the protective barrier of saliva on teeth – making the act of brushing more abrasive. If you don’t fancy heading to work with morning breath, rinse with mouthwash to freshen things up and then brush once you hit the office.
The most common brushing times are first thing in the morning and just before bed. Whilst both are important, it’s the night-time clean that is the most crucial. Brushing at night removes food and drink deposits that have built up throughout the day, banishing bacteria that could fester overnight and cause decay or gum disease.
#3 Brushing too hard
Heavy-handed brushing is another common problem, with people believing that the harder they brush, the cleaner their teeth will be. Unfortunately, you can actually do more harm than good, causing unnecessary wear and even contributing to receding gums.
The golden rule? Spit, don’t rinse.
Tempting as it may be to swill your mouth with water after brushing, all this does is wash away all your hard work. You shouldn’t be rinsing away the fluoride and other beneficial properties of your toothpaste.
#5 Using the wrong toothbrush
Be honest, how long have you had that toothbrush?
Whilst there is endless debate about manual over electric, the key focus should be the bristles. Always opt for soft or medium over hard, as these can be too abrasive for teeth and gums, and be sure to change your brush – or head – regularly (about every 3 months) to ensure the bristles remain at their best.
#6 Forgetting to floss
When it comes to cleaning teeth, flossing should be as much a part of the routine as squeezing out toothpaste. There’s only so much brushing can do. Even with the most skilful of techniques, it’s impossible to get in between teeth in the same way floss can, which is why it’s important to make this a regular part of your cleaning.
#7 Neglecting the tongue
We’ve flagged up the need to floss but it’s essential to remember the tongue too.
Harbouring all kinds of hidden nasties, gently brushing the surface of the tongue will help to rid your mouth of bacteria – not to mention keeping your breath minty fresh!
Need a hand perfecting your smile?
Even with the most skilled brushing, teeth can still stain and lose their lustre over time. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.
On the contrary, there are a wide range of cosmetic dental procedures available to help, remedying discolouration, stains, gaps, chips, and much more.
At the Harley Street Smile Clinic, we specialise in perfecting smiles and are here to help. Why not send us a picture of your smile, with details of what it is you’d like to change, and we’ll get back to you with personalised treatment options and estimated costs?