Common mistakes people make when brushing their teeth

Common mistakes to consider next time you’re in front of the bathroom mirror brushing your teeth.

Brushing our teeth is an unconscious task. We tend to do it automatically every morning before leaving home and every evening before bed. Here are some things to consider next time you are brushing your pearly whites.

Change your toothbrush regularly

Toothbrushes are only designed to last about 100 days, when used twice per day. Most people keep their brush way too long, thereby reducing its effectiveness. Frayed or broken bristles won’t clean your mouth properly. Change your toothbrush once the bristles lose their flexibility.

Brush for two minutes

How long do you normally take? Anything shorter than two minutes doesn’t give the fluoride in your toothpaste enough time to attach to your tooth enamel.

Don't rinse

You can spit the toothpaste out, but the moment water enters the mix the efficiency of the fluoride in your toothpaste is reduced. Use a mouthwash or mouth rinse that contains fluoride, rather than water. Rinse, gargle, spit out the mouthwash and that should be enough. But don’t use water.

Use dental floss daily

Flossing is required at least once a day to remove plaque between your teeth, where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. Plaque that is not removed through brushing and flossing turns into hard, calcified deposits on your teeth.

Clean your tongue too

After brushing your teeth, clean your tongue to prevent bad breath and remove bacteria. A tongue cleaner scrapes the residual bacteria off your tongue. If you don’t want to do that, get a toothbrush that has a tongue scraper on the opposite side.

Tips for preventing tooth decay

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day — ideally after breakfast and last thing before bed.
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes.
  • Replace your toothbrush or brush attachment at least every three months.
  • Never share a toothbrush, as this can spread infections and bacteria.
  • Look for a brush with a small head and a compact, angled arrangement of both long and short round-end bristles. Medium and soft bristles are best for most people, as hard bristles can damage the gums.
  • Brush in circular motions, focusing on each tooth individually. Also, brush the surface of your tongue to remove any bacteria still lingering.
  • Remember to also floss regularly, to remove any food or plaque between the teeth
  • Taking care of your teeth at home is just the beginning. You also need to make regular dentist appointments.