Scottsdale Dentist: Oral Hygiene Mistakes

Believe it or not, brushing 2x a day and flossing 1x a day may not be effective for you. HOW? You might be making some mistakes in your routine that make it not so good. Read below on some common mistakes patients make when trying to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

Brushing your teeth at the RIGHT time of day

The most efficient times to brush your teeth are after breakfast before you go on with your day and after dinner before you sleep. It is okay to freshen your breath in between these times by brushing, flossing, or mouthwash! Brushing your teeth after breakfast removes bacteria from overnight, as well as food particles from your first meal of the day, leaving you with a fresh smile until lunch. At the end of the day, it is essential to brush your teeth so that all of the day’s particles, bacterial growth, a film is removed from your teeth, gums, and tongue.

Using the right toothbrush

If you are using a brush that is not soft, there is potential to hurt your gums and teeth. A soft brush head is completely effective as plaque is soft and can be removed by gentle brushing. You do not need to brush hard! What matters is how thorough you brush your teeth.

Cleaning the whole mouth 

The teeth are not the only part of your mouth that need cleaned daily. Your gums, tongue, and cheek tissues should have attention as well! Implementing brushing, flossing or waterpikking, and rinsing with mouthwash will help you cover all the bases. A clean mouth is a healthy mouth!

Using good technique

Brushing and flossing can be ineffective if the technique isn’t right. For brushing, it is important to visualize brushing the whole tooth, not just back and forth. Having a small circular motion while brushing your teeth will help reach all parts of the tooth, especially near the gums, which is often missed. When flossing, visualize and manipulate the thread to “hug” BOTH sides of the tooth you’re working near. Both the front and the back of the tooth need to be “hugged” by floss! If you are using a waterpik, direct it so that you’re cleaning between your teeth near and into the gums.

Brushing long enough

Yes, 4 minutes (2 minutes each time you brush) a day is ESSENTIAL! Brushing your teeth for 4 minutes total is LESS than 2% of your day, take the time to ensure better oral health. When brushing, focus on effectively cleaning all 4 quadrants of your mouth – two minutes will fly. Nearing the end of brushing, make sure to brush your tongue as well.

Nowadays, there are toothbrushes that have built-in timers so you can develop better habits.

Replacing your toothbrush

After traveling, being sick, or after 3-4 months, it is time to replace your toothbrush. Be aware of where your toothbrush is stored, as well. It is healthiest to isolate your toothbrush to dry and keep it as clean as possible.

As you can see, there is a conscious effort needed to develop a truly great oral hygiene routine. If you have any questions or would like your oral health to be assessed, please contact our office and we are happy to help!