I’m kind of obsessed with my teeth, and I pride myself in having excellent oral hygiene. Every time I go to the dentist I get, like, all the gold stars. I’ve never had a cavity or whitened my teeth. I was always into my teeth and loved brushing as a kid, but once my braces came off I vowed to take incredible care of my teeth. And I did.
I brush my teeth three times a day, floss twice a day, use mouthwash and practice oil pulling. All of these things have gotten me the seal of approval from my dentist (and a lot of free toothpaste!). You’d be surprised how many people I know who don’t even brush their teeth twice a day. Trust me, you need to stop making these oral care mistakes:
Being A Boring Brusher
Do you start brushing your teeth in the same spot each time? Well, bad news: you're doing it wrong. Starting your brush routine in the same spot leads to lazy brushing, which leads to missed plaque and bacteria. Do yourself a favor and start brushing in a different spot each time you brush.
Using The Wrong Brush
Believe it or not, using an electric toothbrush isn't better than using a manual toothbrush. Michael Sesemann, DDS, president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and an Omaha dentist says, "A person who brushes well with a manual will do as well as a person who brushes well with an electric." But you need to use the right brush too! You need one that fits in your mouth and that has relatively soft bristles. I've been using these new REACH Complete Care Triple Angle Pro brushes and am loving them. As an oral care freak, I love a good brush. These have bristles in three different angles, are just the right softness and the necks bend all sorts of ways so you can literally reach every tooth.
Using An Old Brush
Did you know you're supposed to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months? You are. The best thing to do is check your bristles to see if they look scraggly and weird. If they don't look straight or your brush has a fuzzy feeling, it's time to replace!
Forgetting Your Tongue
Your teeth aren't the only things in your mouth that hang out with bacteria. Your tongue is basically a gigantic bacteria carpet. Make sure you brush your tongue too!
Your teeth and gums aren't made of metal! Be careful! Super aggressive brushing can lead to tooth sensitivity, injured gums and exposed roots.
I love flossing, but I know a lot of people hate it. But trust me, once you start flossing, you won't want to stop. Let me guess: you don't think flossing does anything? This couldn't be more untrue. When you brush your teeth, you're only cleaning two surfaces. Teeth have five surfaces so you're missing half if you're not flossing. Floss helps you get rid of all that bacteria you miss and prevents you from getting gum disease, which in turn protects you from getting other problems that occur when your gums are in bad shape.
Not Using Mouthwash
I love a good swish sesh with a nice mouthwash, but a lot of people hate it. This is a really important step that a lot of people forget. After brushing and flossing, make sure you use mouthwash. It's not just to freshen breath, you know. It's also to cut down your risk of gum disease. Many more serious health problems occur because of poor gums so just get into the habit of swishing.
Going Bananas With Whitening
I'm fortunate that I've never had to whiten my teeth. (I have sensitive teeth so I wouldn't want to anyway because ouch.) But I have some friends who whiten all the time and then wonder why their teeth hurt or why their gums are burning. Your teeth come with a certain amount of enamel. Once it's gone, you can't get it back. Whitening your teeth can strip the enamel off and cause extreme sensitivity. If you're interested in whitening, be careful and do so gradually. It's also best to see a professional instead of using strips at home.
Have you been making any of these mistakes? What other oral care mistakes would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!