Your oral health matters greatly and maintaining a clean and healthy smile will go a long way toward your overall health and happiness. But when it comes to practicing oral hygiene, there are some critical mistakes that you should be certain to avoid! Here’s more from your dentist in Temple about five common mistakes that people make when caring for their teeth, and how to go about things the correct way.
#1: Only Brushing Once Per Day
There’s a reason that dentists strongly encourage their patients to brush their teeth twice a day: once simply isn’t enough! When plaque is left to accumulate at the gumline it can cause inflammation, and if left untreated, the gum tissue can actually begin to peel away from the root of the tooth. This can ultimately lead to total tooth loss! Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste is the way to go.
#2: Ignoring Your Gums
Your teeth are important, but so are your gums—after all, they anchor your teeth in place! And neglecting them will usually lead to problems that affect your teeth, including advanced gum disease. Be sure that you’re gently brushing your gums as you brush your teeth. Also, don’t forget to floss daily—flossing helps you clean hard-to-reach spaces in your mouth that your toothbrush can’t access.
#3: Not Replacing Your Toothbrush
Over time, your toothbrush’s bristles become frayed, broken, and unable to effectively clean your teeth. This is why the American Dental Association, one of the most reputable of all professional dental organizations, suggests changing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. You should also get a new toothbrush if you’ve recently been sick, as germs can sometimes lurk between the old brush’s bristles and reinfect you! You might also consider what type of brush you’re getting when it’s time to pick up a replacement; electric toothbrushes have been proven to clean more effectively than manual ones.
#4: Brushing Too Hard
Believe it or not, brushing your teeth too hard is actually just as bad for them as not brushing at all! Overbrushing or using a hard-bristled or worn toothbrush can wear away your gum tissue, which won’t grow back on its own. This can also lead to increased tooth sensitivity. Be sure you’re applying a gentle but firm amount of pressure as you brush; don’t squash the bristles against your gums!
#5: Going Overboard with Whitening Products
There are many store-bought whitening products that claim they’ll give you a whiter smile, but you should exercise caution when using these products. Overusing them can lead to uncomfortable and problematic issues like hypersensitivity, enamel abrasion, and other complications. Turning to your dentist for teeth whitening is usually the best option for a stunning smile, hands down.
Even if you brush every day, it’s for nothing if you’re making critical errors that hurt your pearly whites! That said, knowing what pitfalls to avoid and how to properly care for your smile can ensure its lasting health and beauty.
About the Author
Dr. Richard Fossum has served patients and families in the Temple area since 2004. Dr. Fossum received his dental doctorate from the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston and has taken countless hours of continuing education in a wide range of fields. He is a proud member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association and the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry. If you have any questions for Dr. Fossum or would like to schedule a visit, feel free to contact him through his practice’s website or over the phone: (254) 778-3900.