You brush twice a day, you floss once a day, and you’re always careful to never miss a day. You’re confident your oral hygiene routine is top notch. But is it possible there are some common mistakes in that routine? At my Westfield dental office, we’re always happy to hear our patients are working hard at home to keep their smiles healthy, but we want to make sure they aren’t making mistakes that could ultimately harm their teeth.
1. Ignoring Your Tongue
Your tongue harbors a lot of sneaky bacteria in all its nooks and crannies, which can contribute to bad breath and lead to tooth decay. Since the tongue is in frequent contact with teeth, the bacteria can transfer and start to cause damage to the enamel. A gentle scrub with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper successfully removes a lot of the dangerous bacteria and keeps your pearly whites safe.
2. Foregoing The Rinse
After eating, brushing your teeth may be the last thing on your mind, especially if it’s after lunch during a crazy work day. While we’d love it if patients brushed following each meal, sometimes it’s just not possible. Instead, rinse with some water. Water helps wiggle out any food particles that may be lingering around and neutralizes acid, keeping your teeth safe. If you do have a chance to brush after eating, we recommend waiting at least 30 minutes. Meals that are high in acid can weaken enamel, and if you brush when enamel is weak, you may do more harm than good.
3. Storing Your Brush Incorrectly
Between the long oval cases that your whole brush can fit into, the caps that cover just the bristles, and shutting it behind the bathroom cabinet, there are many different ways you can store your toothbrush. But which way is the right way? It’s pretty simple. Just stand your toothbrush bristle end up and allow it to air dry.
4. Brushing Too Hard
Usually when we try to clean something, a good, hard scrubbing is a great idea. But not when it comes to our teeth. Brushing too hard can damage gums and even cause them to recede. Additionally, too much pressure can weaken enamel, and without enamel, teeth are more susceptible to decay. Instead, try using gentle, small circles.
Along with a proper at-home oral hygiene routine, regular visits to my dental office in Westfield are necessary for a healthy smile. Visiting us at least twice a year helps catch any potential problems early, allows us to monitor your oral hygiene habits, and keeps your smile in its best shape for life.
Accepting patients from Westfield, Scotch Plains, and Mountainside.