Tooth-brushing is an activity that we are taught as children. From our elementary school years, we are responsible for cleaning teeth and gums. That is a lot of responsibility! Unfortunately, because daily tasks have a way of becoming mundane, the care that we give to the mouth often diminishes over time. It’s only natural. We’d like to serve up a friendly reminder that may prompt you to take a look at how your brushing is doing at serving your oral health needs.
Are these mistakes costing you a healthy smile?
- Brushing too much. We most often fear that we are not brushing enough, not that we are doing too much to keep the mouth clean. Brushing after meals and snacks may sound like a good idea. In actuality, we should brush no more than three times a day; twice is usually sufficient, when we use proper technique.
- Brushing too hard. We understand that brushing with a bit of pressure may initially leave a feeling of cleanliness that seems beneficial. It is important to remember, though, that brushing is a bit aggressive in and of itself. Enamel, as well as gum tissue, is slightly abraded when we brush. Going too hard may mean losing gum tissue that cannot be regained. Gum recession is a major problem of too-hard brushing. Keep it gentle, and keep it soft (bristles) for the greatest reward.
- Letting the toothbrush go. Not literally; metaphorically. We don’t want to let our toothbrush get out of shape. As much as we hear that replacement should occur every 3 to 4 months, a busy schedule can make us forgetful. How old is your toothbrush? If you can’t remember, it’s time for a new one.
- Leaving the toothbrush vulnerable. This common mistake is not a matter of being complacent. Many people inadvertently put their toothbrush in danger by trying to keep it safe – under cover. Toothbrush cases may sound like a good idea. Many of them even have small holes so air can get through. If the bristles of a toothbrush are not allowed to completely dry in between uses, germs will build up. Instead of a full case that covers the head of a toothbrush, consider an open container inside of a drawer, where air flow is more sufficient.
Daily care combined with regular checkups and cleanings can help you avoid unpleasant dental problems. To schedule a visit with your McLean dentist, call 703-448-1020.