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Greensboro, NC 27408

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Greensboro Dental Clinic, Dr. Margaret Szott | ALL blog posts
December 1, 2015

Seven Ways You Are Brushing Your Teeth Incorrectly

Brushing your teeth is an important daily routine. Keeping our teeth clean allows us to avoid cavities and painful gum surgeries as well as keeps our breath smelling better and our smiles more attractive. But, are we brushing our teeth correctly? According to the American Dental Association, many people are making mistakes while brushing. Here are the seven biggest mistakes:

Woman holding yellow toothbrush and brushing her teeth.

  1. You have a potty mouth: Most people keep their toothbrushes in the bathroom where there are often a lot of germs. To keep the toothbrush clean, it is recommended that the brush be stored in an upright holder so that it doesn't touch the counter and don't allow it to touch other toothbrushes. Make sure the brush has an opportunity to air dry, otherwise, it is prone to bacteria growth since bacteria grow in damp environments.
  2. You rinse with water: Swishing water in the mouth after you brush your teeth washes much of the fluoride out, thus minimizing the toothpaste's effectiveness. You should not eat for a minimum of 30 minutes after brushing your teeth.
  3. You brush MORE than two times per day: If you are brushing when you wake up and after each meal and again at night, this can erode your teeth's enamel and damage your gums. Also, if you eat anything acidic, it is important to wait at least 30 minutes after you brush before eating or drinking. The acids soften the outermost layer of enamel and brushing the softer enamel can "rub" it away permanently.
  4. You start at the same place: If you always start brushing on the top right side, that section is going to get the most attention. Before you finish, you might get bored so your thoroughness weakens. Switch up where you start and pay attention to which spots are being neglected.
  5. You don't brush long enough: The average person brushes their teeth for only 45 seconds. It is recommended by most dentists that you brush for at least 2 minutes. If you aren't brushing long enough, the fluoride in the toothpaste may not have enough time to attach to your teeth. Most power toothbrushes have a 2 minute timer to insure you are brushing the proper length of time.
  6. You are not switching it up: Your toothbrush should be changed every 3 to 4 months OR when the bristles are not straight up and down. Bent and broken bristles can damage your gums and tooth enamel. A brush without proper stiffness are not able to clean as well.
  7. You aren't going in circles: Brushing in a back and forth motion is not the right brushing technique. A circular motion is preferred with the brush held at a 45 degree angle toward the gums for maximum effectiveness.

If you found you are making one or more of these tooth brushing mistakes, do not worry. You can easily change your techniques and habits so that you are brushing like a pro!

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Greensboro, NC 27408
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