Oral hygiene is something we are taught when we’re young, but often that doesn’t go beyond learning to brush, floss, and use mouthwash. There are a lot of mistakes that people make when it comes to their oral hygiene, and you can avoid them by knowing what they are.
Brushing in the Morning Only
Most people know to brush their teeth in the morning, and morning is an important time to brush. It gets rid of the plaque that has settled on the teeth during the night. However, it’s also important to brush at night, with another brushing time in the afternoon if possible. Throughout the day, the teeth gather food debris, and that food debris needs to be brushed away at night. When that debris is left overnight, it leaves a good meal for the bacteria that can create acids that can eat through the enamel of the teeth. Brushing must happen every night without fail in order to have good oral hygiene.
If you snack often, you are raising your risk for developing cavities. This is especially true if the snacks are starchy or sugary, which most are. Having something sweet once in a while is a nice treat, but when the teeth are repeatedly exposed to those foods, it can cause cavities to begin as well as grow them faster.
Brushing Too Hard
Some people believe that when they scrub their teeth hard, they are scribing them better. However, this can cause damage to the teeth. When you brush too hard, it can cause abrasion to the enamel of the teeth and can also cause receding gums. It can lead to more tooth sensitivity and even the loss of tooth structure. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles or an electric toothbrush that is approved by the American Dental Association, as these have soft bristles standard. If your toothbrush looks frazzled within one or two months or you have receding gums or more sensitivity, you may be brushing too hard. If you have a hard time getting out of this habit, you can use an electric toothbrush that comes with an indicator of the pressure you’re using.
Eating Acid Foods Late
If you are eating foods that are highly acidic at night, this can mean that your saliva becomes acidic, and this can affect gum health. When you are eating your evening meal, it’s better for your teeth to eat it as early as possible. Try to eat two hours or more before you go to bed so that everything is digested, and the saliva will go back to normal.
Not Brushing Long Enough
If you are brushing often enough, you may think that this is enough, but it isn’t helping as much as you think if you aren’t brushing for long enough. If you don’t spend enough time on it, it won’t get rid of all of the plaque and tartar won’t be removed, and this can lead to deposits of plaque staying on the teeth. This can lead to developing bad breath, gum inflammation, and cavities. If you brush too quickly, you might also miss your back teeth, and this is where cavities often form. Getting a toothbrush that has a timer on it can help you to brush for a full two minutes, or you can use one of the dental apps that have a countdown.
Failing to Scrape the Tongue
Many people don’t scrape their tongues, but this can be a great way to improve your oral hygiene. When you use a tongue scraper, it removes bacteria from the tongue. It also cleans off the taste buds. In addition, it activates digestion. All of these things can be good for your health. It’s best to scrape your tongue as soon as you wake up in the morning before you have brushed your teeth.
Flossing Improperly or Not at All
A big mistake that is common is failing to floss. Some people simply skip or try to replace flossing with using mouthwash. Mouthwash is helpful to add onto your regimen, but it isn’t a replacement for either brushing or flossing. If you don’t floss, it causes plaque to build up between the teeth, and this can lead to cavities and gum problems. When you do floss, it should be in the correct manner. If you are snapping the floss between the teeth quickly, you don’t have the proper flossing form. It should be done in a C shape so that you get the area around the gumline. Follow the structure of the teeth rather than going straight up and down. It’s best to floss after each meal, but it can be hard to find the time to do so. If possible, floss after every time you eat, even after snacking. It only takes a few more minutes to have much better oral hygiene.
When you have the proper oral hygiene regimen, it’s easier to have good oral hygiene. You can keep your teeth and gums cleaner so that you can reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease. Call us at the Center for Family & Implant Dentistry to make an appointment for your six-month dental exam and cleaning. These appointments are also a vital part of your oral hygiene regimen.