Brushing your teeth is an everyday routine that most people give little thought to. The truth is there are a number of common mistakes people make in the course of brushing. After all, how often do we really think about brushing technique? Here at Hawkins Family Dentistry, Dr. Alex Hawkins is all about making sure his Midlothian patients know how to keep their mouths in the best health, while fighting gum disease and keeping their pearly whites sparkling. Here are some things to keep in mind when you pick up your brush every day.
What you are about to read may astonish you, because many common brushing techniques actually give the opposite of the desired results. Most importantly, don’t be discouraged! Even if you aren’t doing it quite right now, the key is that you have been brushing. That is certainly better than the alternative. If you ever have questions, feel free to call Hawkins Family Dentistry. We are all experts in the art of brushing teeth and we can certainly help you become brushing Jedis as well.
The most common brushing mistakes we see are not brushing for long enough, brushing too hard, focusing on the wrong areas, skipping teeth (on accident, of course), and thinking that brushing is the end all, be all of killing bacteria. Here are some specifics to help you become a brushing master:
How Long Are You Supposed To Brush For?
Here’s the official number, straight from the American Dental Hygienists Association: two minutes, twice a day. It’s not easy to judge time while you’re brushing your teeth, and it turns out that most people don’t make it through the whole two minutes. Unless you are an expert counter, it’s best to time yourself with a phone or watch. Increase your brushing time and your teeth (and Dr. Hawkins) will thank you for it!
The Harder I Brush, the Better, Right?
Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Brushing hard does not make up for brushing less, or for a shorter period of time, and it can actually damage your teeth. If you brush too hard, you run the risk of damaging the enamel on your teeth, and then you’ll definitely need to see Dr. Alex Hawkins. If you have a heavy hand when it comes to brushing, it may be best for you to buy toothbrushes with softer bristles (most toothbrushes are labeled ‘soft’ or ‘medium’) or consider buying an electric toothbrush. Give us a call and Dr. Hawkins can recommend the best products to make your teeth happy and your smile radiant.
What is the Most Important Area to Brush?
The chances are you are concentrating your brushing on areas that aren’t as important as you may think. A lot of people automatically focus on the surface of the tooth. While it may seem that this is the most important area because it is the most visible, it is actually much less important than the gum line, edges, corners, and backs of teeth. Food and bacteria are much less likely to stick to the front of your teeth than they are in between them. So what area should receive the most attention? The gum line is your best bet. Focus your brushing on the gum line, while remembering to get the edges, corners, and backs of your teeth. This will certainly give you a leg up on all on your fellow Midlothian tooth brushers, and help you fight gum disease as well!
How Do I Avoid Skipping Teeth?
Alright, we admit this one may seem like a no-brainer, but let’s remember that you aren’t looking directly at your teeth while you brush them, and there are plenty of areas in your mouth that you can’t see very well (or at all). We like to quote ancient dental wisdom on this matter, “only brush the teeth you want to keep.” With that in mind, we recommend you keep all of your teeth by brushing all of them, and the best way to do that is to always brush further than you think you need to, in both directions. This way, you are likely to overlap any areas that might otherwise be neglected and keep all of your teeth!
Does Brushing Kill All of the Bacteria in My Mouth?
The short answer is no. The long answer is: flossing and using mouthwash regularly are just as important as brushing. It might seem that brushing is the big dog when it comes to killing bacteria, but that just isn’t the case. It is important, of course, but flossing and rinsing with mouthwash also play a major role in getting rid of nasty mouth germs. That being said, it is always important to remember that getting your teeth cleaned twice a year is crucial. After all, we alone have the power to clean every nook and cranny, and tell you when you need more than just cleaning. Give Hawkins Family Dentistry a call and we’ll let you know when you’re due for your next cleaning appointment.