3 Common Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Dental Care

You may brush and floss daily, but are you doing these activities correctly? If you adjust your brushing and flossing appropriately, you will be able to improve your yearly or bi-yearly dental checkups. Here are three common mistakes you could be making.

1. Brushing Immediately After Eating

It's true that if you leave your enamel alone for a lengthy amount of time, it's easier for bacteria to thrive. That's why it is so important to brush before you head to bed—you won't be brushing for many hours until you wake up.

Some people like to brush after each meal to reduce the bacteria in their mouth. However, if you do this habit, make sure you are only brushing your teeth when you aren't eating or drinking highly acidic foods or beverages. If you brush immediately after consuming these foods, you can push acids into the pores of the enamel, thus damaging your teeth. It's better to wait about half an hour to an hour after eating before brushing. While you wait to brush, make sure you rinse your mouth with water or chew gum. Both activities remove acids and stimulate saliva production.

2. Using the Same Portable Flosser for Each Tooth

Portable flossers that have floss thread on plastic sticks are very popular since they make flossing easier—especially for posterior teeth. However, a very common issue is that people use the same flosser for their entire mouth. If you do not switch out your floss between teeth, all you are really doing is passing bacteria from the previous periodontal pocket/interproximal space to the next tooth.

Even if you don't see big chunks of food or debris, you can still be passing along bacteria. It's best to use a few portable flossers for your teeth. Or, you may want to switch back to standard floss, so you don't waste so many flossers. With standard floss, you can just keep winding down a long piece of thread, so you aren't using the same floss for each tooth. To make flossing easier, make sure that you use a waxed floss that doesn't shred.

3. Brushing Teeth Too Hard

You may already know that soft-bristled brushes are better than harder ones. But did you know that you don't need a ton of pressure when brushing your teeth? Instead of smashing the bristles down, you only need to feel enough pressure that the bristles angle towards the gums. If you are unsure if your method of brushing is correct, ask your dentist or look up the Bass technique online. The Bass technique is an efficient method of brushing for adults since it can remove plaque both above and below the gumline without damage. If you continue to brush your teeth too hard, you could experience tooth sensitivity, and you could also develop gum recession.

Watch out for these three common mistakes, and talk with a dentist in your local area for more tips to improve your dental care.