It’s probably fair to say that most adults would think they’ve got a pretty good grasp of things when it comes to brushing their teeth. After all, not only is it not exactly rocket science, but it’s also something we’ve all been doing for as long as we can remember. To such an extent that we do it 100% instinctively and without so much as a second thought.
But here’s the thing – a growing number of dentists and professionals alike are warning the world not to take things for granted. Or to put it another way, chances are you’ve been brushing your teeth wrong, all this time!
Hard to believe?
Apparently not, as while overall oral hygiene standards and habits are getting better all the time, some of the things most people do habitually are apparently not the way to go about it. Or at least, not if you would prefer to do things the way the professionals recommend.
So with this in mind, what follows is a rather interesting overview of just a few of the ways dentists warn most others are getting things entirely wrong when we clean our teeth:
Brushing After Eating
First of all, logic and common sense would seem to dictate that if you want to look after your teeth, you should clean them after you’ve eaten. After all, it’s after you’ve eaten something or had a drink with sugar/acid in its makeup that you run the risk of it sticking around in your mouth and damaging your teeth. In reality, dentists are more likely to recommend that you actually brush your teeth before eating, rather than afterwards. There are two reasons for this – the first of which being that one if you brush your teeth to quickly after eating, you can actually do more harm than good as the enamel on your teeth may have been weakened by whatever it is you ate. Secondly, to brush before eating is to fill your mouth with all the acid-neutralising goodness of the toothpaste you use, while at the same time providing the teeth with a little extra protection from what’s to come.
The only downside of course being that you may have to deal with a slightly minty flavour in the background during your meal!
Forgetting the Gums
Something else reported by the vast majority of dentists is a widespread tendency to completely ignore or forget about the gums. Regardless of whether you’re using the best electric toothbrush of 2017 or a traditional manual toothbrush, it is critically important to focus on far more than just your teeth alone. The reason being that if you ignore the area between the teeth and gums, you cannot expect to remove all the unpleasant debris that collects in there during the day and night. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the kind of stuff that causes cavities and can even lead to tooth loss.
Of course, cleaning your gums and tongue doesn’t mean going over the top with an aggressive and abrasive scrubbing action. Nevertheless, you need to give all these other areas of your mouth just as much attention as the rest, in order to prevent them from becoming the kinds of bacteria nests that can lead to all manner of oral health and hygiene problems.
Brushing All At Once
That this might sound a little on the strange side, but many dentists tell their patients that the only way to thoroughly clean their teeth is to focus on one at a time. When you think about it, chances are you focus on either one area or quadrant of your mouth at any one time, before moving on to the next. Which is a good way of going about things and precisely why high quality electric toothbrushes often feature 30-second quadrant timers. However, dentists remain convinced that unless you focus specifically on each tooth individually, you cannot realistically expect to clean each of your teeth as thoroughly and effectively as possible.
What’s more, research also suggests that most people tend to focus approximately 80% of their time (or even more) on the front of their teeth, giving the back little to no attention whatsoever. Unfortunately, the backs of your teeth need just as much attention as the front, if you want to keep them in the best possible condition.
Chances are you’ve naturally fallen into a habit of thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water, after each brushing. Interestingly, according to dentists and official guidelines released by the NHS alike, this is something nobody should be doing. The reason being that when you rinse your mouth with water after brushing, all you end up doing is flushing out all of the good stuff that should be kept in the mouth to continue protecting it in the hours that follow. The toothpaste you use contains a wide variety of protective elements that continue working after it has been used – that is, unless you then rinse them all away immediately after using them.
Instead therefore, it is recommended that you simply spit out any excess after brushing, or rinse using a high-quality mouthwash. That said, there are many professionals who even state that mouthwash should be used before brushing, but this remains a subject of significant debate.
The Wrong Pressure
Last but not least, one of the most common problems identified by dentists up and down the United Kingdom is that of patients not using the correct pressure when brushing their teeth. Just as it is far too common for people to brush their teeth using way too much pressure, others are too gentle in their approach and do not get rid of enough plaque and debris. Realistically, dentists state that there is only one way of getting it right – that being to use a quality electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor.
That said, if you prefer to stick with a manual toothbrush, it should be one of those with a flexible neck which does not allow for excessive pressure to be placed on the teeth. You might feel as if pressing on extra hard will result in cleaner teeth, but in reality you could end up doing far more harm than good.