The best way to keep those teeth nice, healthy and pearly white as well as keeping breath fresh is to brush them twice daily. It is something that has been hammered into people's brains, however some people still end up with bad teeth or no teeth even if they brush daily. A lot of that is blamed on bad genes and, at times, this is true. However, many people end up with cavities or lost teeth because they are not brushing properly. It is easy to think that merely brushing your teeth any old way is good, but there are many dental practices that leave our teeth susceptible to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease instead of preventing them.
Not Brushing Long Enough
The biggest mistake that almost all people make is not brushing long enough. The recommended amount of time to spend actually brushing your teeth (not including flossing, rinsing or mouthwash) is 2 to 3 minutes. Dentists often recommend singing the 'Happy Birthday' song in your head, but most people rush through that in a minute, tops. It is even easier to rush through the whole process when you are getting ready for work or absolutely ready to go to sleep, but being hasty gets you nowhere in the long run.
It is recommended to get an electric tooth brush that has a timer on it, like many have now. If you are not a fan of the vibrations or electric tooth brushes in general, try instead setting a timer on your cell phone or going old school with an egg timer.
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Not Getting The Right Spots
Make it a habit to watch yourself brushing in the mirror, not so much to admire your amazing teeth, but more so to watch what you are doing. Many people neglect brushing down around the gum line where your teeth meet the gums or the gums themselves, both of which are the most important parts to brush. At the gum line is where plaque and tartar primarily build up and slip into the cracks of the teeth where, if you are not flossing, they build up and form cavities. Brushing the gums is also important as it stimulates blood flow into them, which keeps them healthy and strong as well as removes germs. If you neglect to remove the germs on your gums, as soon as you close your mouth, they are going to migrate right back onto your teeth.
Be sure to get that tooth brush as far back as you can as well. Cavities form easily on the very back molars as people tend to neglect getting back far enough to brush the back of them.
Brushing Side To Side
We have all been taught how to brush our teeth properly at one point or another by a parent or a dentist, but it is easy to forget. A surprising amount of people brush side to side in a sawing motion, this is wrong, so very tooth damagingly wrong. Enamel—the stuff that protects our teeth—looks like it is a flat surface and sure does feel like it. However, the enamel protecting teeth is actually made out of tiny rods. Some of you may be seeing the problem with side to side brushing already. This side to side motion acts essentially like a saw, making it significantly easier to break or wear down the enamel.
So instead of keeping that precious enamel strong, brushing side to side is hurting it. Make it a constant reminder to brush in a circular motion all throughout your mouth. It can be difficult to get into this practice after years of doing it one way, but it will only be better for your teeth.
Brushing Too Hard, With The Wrong Brush
There is nothing better than the refreshing clean that you can get by vigorously brushing with a hard tooth brush. However, this 'refreshing clean' is probably more accurately described as enamel erosion, especially for those who happen to be a side to side brusher.
Hard tooth brushes are only really in production to clean fake teeth like dentures. The ideal tooth brush is labeled as soft or ultra soft. However, if you are still scrubbing vigorously even with a soft toothbrush, you are doing damage, not to mention wearing out your tooth brush in weeks instead of months. Aggressive brushing leads to irritation and recession of the gum line, especially when brushing wrong. It can also lead to abfraction lesions, in which the enamel chips away at the gum line and the dentin begins to show through. Brush in soft circles, you are not scrubbing plague away, you are brushing it away.
Do be sure to replace your toothbrush after the recommended three months or earlier if you see the bristles beginning to fray or flatten. This is not just essential to keeping teeth clean, but once your tooth brush begins to fray, those small fibers can get stuck within your teeth.
Flossing All Wrong
You knew it was coming. Something about flossing. Whether it be reprimanding you for not doing it at all or not enough. However, even if you floss diligently, chances are you are doing it wrong. Some people treat flossing as a way to remove food particles, but it is that and so much more. We floss not only to remove bits of food, but bacteria that gets wedged in between our teeth and lives feeding on sugars from food excreting chemicals that cause cavities.
Using the old back and forth motion like a saw is not enough. Essentially, floss is supposed to be used to wipe down the sides of our teeth. Draw out a full foot of floss, wrap both ends around your middle fingers, then use the thumb and index finger of both hands to gently ease it in between teeth. Use it to scrape along the sides of the tooth rather than wiggling up and down.
After you have proper procedure down, try doing it while watching TV to make the whole affair much less tedious.
Be Sure to Rinse
The proper procedure is to brush, rinse the tooth paste out with water, floss, and rinse again. Many neglect to rinse again after flossing, which essentially makes flossing a bit pointless. That bacteria you just removed from your teeth will just find somewhere else to grow.
There are plenty of mouth rise options out there that not only removes bacteria, but leaves the mouth minty fresh. There are even plenty of alcohol free options like Listerine Zero if you dislike the burn of mouth wash. However, rinsing with water after flossing in better than nothing.
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