Oral Care: 8 Teeth-brushing Mistakes You Are Making

Teeth-brushing is far more complex than people realize, with some common habits actually causing significant damage to the teeth. From the style of toothbrush to the brushing time, a variety of elements need to be taken into account before brushing, to avoid causing harm.

Celebrity dentist, Dr. Michael Tam, tells DailyMail‘s Laura House the common mistakes people often make when it comes to teeth care.

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1. RINSING THE TEETH  

While most people think it’s important to rinse after brushing, experts disagree. ‘People might not realise this but it’s not good to rinse straight away because we want the toothpaste to build the mouth environment back up and make everything correct again,’ Dr. Tam said.

‘We want to swish and spit but not rinse – you want to leave the fluoride on the teeth for at least 30 minutes after brushing.’

2. BRUSHING STRAIGHT AFTER A MEAL

Even though people are often rushing in the morning, it’s important to wait 30 minutes after a meal before brushing.

‘Food and acidic drinks like orange juice soften the enamel on the teeth, so it’s important to wait for the mouth’s pH to balance out again before brushing,’ Dr. Tam said. ‘We are always in a rush so if that’s not possible, drinking more alkaline drinks like milk are better for the teeth.’

3. BRUSHING TOO HARD 

Common sense that the more elbow grease put into cleaning, the better the result…but that’s not the case when it comes to brushing teeth.

‘People are brushing too hard and too abrasively…we see a lot of teeth damaged by vigorous brushing. You should be using a soft bristled brush which will certainly reduce the amount of abrasion and of course be brushing gently,’ he said.

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4. BRUSHING FOR LESS THAN TWO MINUTES

The average brushing time is two minutes, with Dr. Tam stressing that people should be brushing for no less than that.

‘If you brush for less than two minutes you are more than likely leaving deposits of tartar and food on the teeth as well as all the stains,’ Dr. Tam said. ‘You need to time two minutes and not rush – rushing means people are brushing harder and faster which causes damage to the teeth.’

5. SNACKING TOO OFTEN 

Snacking too much throughout the day can lead to poor teeth health and more damage can be caused during the brushing process.

‘In a normal mouth we have a pH level which is neutral and when we snack and eat food, the pH level drops and it becomes quite acidic which leads to enamel related issues,’ Dr. Tam said.

‘It takes five minutes for our saliva to then take our balance back to normal, so if we are snacking all day the teeth are sitting in an acidic environment for longer and will be more easily damaged later on…it’s not a good thing to snack all the time.’

6. DRINKING FILTERED/BOTTLED WATER

Fluoride is naturally found in tap water, so those who are drinking filtered water are missing out on extra teeth protection. ‘Fluoride is great for the teeth and when it comes to filtered water, the minerals are taken out – including fluoride,’ Dr. Tam said.

7. BRUSHING JUST THE FRONT OF TEETH

People often brush with the goal of a bright, cheesy smile, so the back of the teeth are often neglected.

‘Plaque builds up on the back of the teeth as well,’ Dr. Tam said. ‘It is very very important to be brushing all over the teeth – the front, back and sides.’

READ ALSO: 6 Possible Reasons Your Child Is Easily Constipated And What To Do

8. BRUSHING IN THE SHOWER 

Brushing teeth in the shower seems like the perfect multi-tasking technique, but it also means less focus on the process.

‘It’s good to brush your teeth in front of the mirror so you are mindful of what you are doing…you need to watch the angle of the brush and make sure it’s angled right,’ Dr. Tam said.

‘Turning off the tap and really getting the brush everywhere for two straight minutes is very important.’

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