You may be taking great care of your oral health—or so you think. You brush every day, you floss your teeth, you get your teeth cleaned regularly, so you’ve got it made. But what if your oral hygiene practices were actually harmful? At Anderson and Atkins Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we want you to know how to take care of your mouth correctly, which includes avoiding common mistakes. Below are the top five mistakes most people make when it comes to dental hygiene.
Rinsing Your Mouth After You Brush
Are you confused about this one? Isn’t this the final step in tooth-brushing protocol? Most people will rinse their mouth thoroughly after spitting out the toothpaste, however, this is a common mistake. Toothpaste contains fluoride, a necessary mineral that promotes healthy, white teeth. After you spit, you should not rinse so that the fluoride can be successfully absorbed into your enamel. Only then can it do its job to protect your teeth from cavity and decay.
Not Paying Attention to the Toilet
Sure, you pay attention to the location of the toilet in your bathroom, but are you aware of the proximity between it and your toothbrush? Most people leave their toothbrush out on the bathroom counter to dry. If your toothbrush is too close to the toilet, it may be in the “splash zone.” When you flush, you risk the spray from the toilet bowl landing on your toothbrush. While this is not a guarantee, it’s certainly a notable precaution. We think it’s best to keep your toothbrush away from the toilet.
Brushing Immediately After Eating
If you consume sugary or acidic foods or beverages, you may believe that the faster you can brush your teeth, the safer they will be. However, these ingredients weaken your enamel (the hard, outer covering on your teeth). When you brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking, you may actually brush away fragments of enamel. A lack of enamel increases your risk for tooth sensitivity and toothache. While it may sound counterintuitive, wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth after consuming something with a high acid or sugar content.
Sharing Is Caring
That’s what mom always taught us: sharing is caring. But not when it comes to toothbrushes. Sharing a toothbrush is the fastest way to spread germs and blood-borne diseases. Unless you’d like a cold or extra bacteria, it’s safest to keep your toothbrush to yourself—no matter how close you are to the person whose toothbrush you consider using.
Scrubbing Away Plaque and Debris
When it comes to debris stuck on pots and pans, the harder you scrub, the cleaner the dish. This is not the case when it comes to our teeth. Many people actually brush their teeth too hard and while they assume they are scrubbing away plaque and debris, they are scrubbing away enamel. Enamel not only protects your teeth but keeps them pearly white. When enamel is gone, there’s no way to get it back. Your teeth can be just as clean when you hold your toothbrush so lightly someone could easily knock it out of your hand. Don’t be too hard on your teeth—let the bristles do the work, not your elbow grease.
If you have questions or concerns about your oral health or proper cleaning techniques, schedule an appointment with us at Anderson and Atkins Dentistry by calling (979)846-1813.
Our practice is dedicated to taking care of the entire family, which includes cleanings and dental education for your little ones. Let us help you teach them good teeth-brushing habits before these common mistakes become their common practice.