Brushing your teeth is a part of your everyday life, so you probably don’t spend too much thinking about it – even when you’re doing it! Which means there’s a pretty good chance you’re making at least one of these common mistakes when it comes to brushing your teeth (and there’s an even bigger chance you don’t even know you’re doing it.) Below are five of the biggest mistakes you might make when brushing your teeth and some info about how to fix them.
#1 – Not Tossing your Toothbrush Often Enough
According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, you should be replacing your toothbrush every three or four months – typically with the changing seasons. However, most people admit to keeping their toothbrushes for six months or more, which makes them less effective and increases the chance of contracting gum disease. Make sure you get a new toothbrush when you should. Procrastinating could make you sick.
#2 – Buying Plastic Toothbrushes
Plastic toothbrushes have been the industry standard for quite some time, but there are companies out there trying to change that. Rather than buying plastic toothbrushes because that’s all you know, investigate some alternatives. Sustainable, panda-friendly alternatives exist, and they work just as well (if not better than) your current toothbrush. They’re naturally antimicrobial, too, so you can kiss germs goodbye.
#3 – Not Brushing Long Enough
You should brush your teeth at least twice each day, and each time you brush, you should brush for at least two minutes. This is can seem like an ETERNITY when you’re staring at yourself in the mirror with a foamy mouth, but it’s important to your oral health that you do it – for the whole time. If you need some help keeping track of the time, buy an inexpensive kitchen timer to keep in the bathroom and keep brushing until it rings. Make sure that you’re covering your whole mouth and brushing your tongue, too!
#4 – Brushing too Hard
Toothbrushing is not an event in the Strongman competition (though it would be cool if it was!), so if you’re brushing your teeth like your life depends on it, slow down and relax. Being gentle with your toothbrush helps the bristles get in the nooks and crannies where food and plaque tend to deposit. What’s more, if you apply too much pressure, you could injure your gums and create the perfect entry point for bacteria.
#5 – Storing Your Toothbrush Improperly
Do you keep your toothbrush in a closed container (like a toothbrush case meant for travel) or out in the open in your bathroom? If you are then you’re making a very common mistakes. You should be keeping your toothbrush in an open container where it can dry in the air, but you should never leave it out on the sink in the open. Instead, keep it in a cup in the medicine cabinet or even on a shelf in the bathroom linen closet. Every time a toilet flushes, it sends a rush of germs flying around the room – and some of them will land on your toothbrush. Keeping it inside a cabinet is the best bet.
By remedying these common toothbrushing mistakes, you can protect your teeth even better, keep yourself healthier, and perhaps even do your part to save the planet. Be sure to really take the time to pay attention to how (and how long) you brush your teeth to see the best possible results.