Plenty of brushing, flossing and regular check-ups are the perfect recipe for maintaining good oral health and avoiding dental problems… right?
Unfortunately it isn’t always that simple! Whilst all those things are critically important for maintaining good oral health, as Dentists we see the results of some very common mistakes…
We tend to brush our teeth before we leave the house in the morning, when we are in a rush, or before bed in the evening, when we are tired and want to get to bed! The average person only brushes for 45-70 seconds per day! That is less than half the recommended time. It is easy to over-estimate how long you have been brushing for, so we recommend using a timer on your phone, clock or hourglass, and split your mouth into 4 areas, top to bottom left to right, for 30 seconds each to ensure through brushing. For kids, using a song can be a fun alternative!
Believe it or not this is a big no-no! When you rinse your teeth after brushing, you wash away all the good ingredients from your toothpaste such as fluoride and enamel-protecting properties that can provide lasting protection throughout the day.
If you have had anything acidic (or been poorly) your natural protective layer of saliva will likely have been stropped from your teeth, making brushing immediately afterwards extra harsh on your teeth. Wait for at least 30 minutes.
There is such thing as brushing too much, or too hard. Stick to the 2 minute guideline and make sure to brush at a slight angle as if you are ‘tickling your gums’. Brushing for too long, or being too rough can cause extra wear and tear on your teeth and even receding gums.
Did you know you should replace your toothbrush/toothbrush head every 3 months? Bristles quickly become soft and worn, and using your toothbrush for any longer than this will mean your brushing is much less effective.
We know, we go on about it, but flossing is one of the best things you can do for your teeth! Normal brushing does not get in-between the tiny gaps between your teeth that are the worst place for hoarding bits of food and bacteria and growing plaque and biofilm, leading to cavities and gum disease. Where there is more space we recommend using interdental brushes alongside floss to access the sides of your teeth and ensure everything is clean.
Although there is no universal best toothpaste, it is important to choose one that contains at least 1350-1500 parts per million (ppm) fluoride, as this is key to preventing tooth decay.
Manual vs electric? Soft vs hard bristles? Whilst electric toothbrushes have handy features such as timers and sensors to alert you if you are brushing too hard, the main deciding factor in finding a good toothbrush is the bristle! Soft or medium bristles win over hard, as they clean your teeth gently without damaging your teeth or gums. Regarding size, the head only needs to be big enough to cover one tooth, as focusing on one tooth at a time is more effective than sweeping strokes! Your Dentist will be able to advise on the best products for your oral health.
Are you guilty of any of the above? As always, if you have any questions about oral health care and your individual smile we are here to help. At our next consultation we would be happy to advise what products could be best for your teeth, or point out areas we spot you may be lacking!
Whilst brushing and flossing regularly and correctly keeps our mouths in ship-shape, none of us are immune to the effects of time, and our teeth will go through wear and tear over the years. This can result in natural staining, thinning of enamel or changes to the shape of your teeth. If you feel your smile has lost some of its sparkle, or you would like to feel more confident, contact us for a free smile consultation and we will see what we can do to get your happy, healthy smile back; call the practice on call 0151 526 2701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.