Brushing your teeth twice a day removes food and plaque that accumulates during the day. By making it a regular habit, you avoid oral health issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities. Unfortunately, there are a few common mistakes that you might be making when you brush your teeth. Here are a few to look out for:
- You aren’t brushing long enough.
If you are brushing your teeth for only about 30 seconds, you aren’t doing it long enough. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes. If you have a hard time brushing that long, consider playing a song that you listen to while you brush your teeth. You may consider purchasing an electric toothbrush with an automatic shut-off feature after 2 minutes.
- You aren’t cleaning your toothbrush.
Your toothbrush carries all the bacteria that you clean off of your teeth and gums. That’s why it’s so important to keep it clean! If you don’t, the bacteria that accumulates in the bristles can find it’s way back inside your mouth. The easiest way to clean your toothbrush is to let hot water run over the bristles before and after brushing your teeth. You may also want to let it soak in mouthwash too.
- You aren’t storing it properly.
Where you put your toothbrush is important. Many people will place it by their sink and often far too close to the toilet. How confident are you that every person in your household who uses the toilet closes the lid when they flush? If they don’t, the spray from the toilet can splash onto the sink where your toothbrush resides. With that in mind, your toothbrush should also be in an upright position to allow it to dry. Consider purchasing a container that allows for air or place your toothbrush in a holder. Put it far away from the toilet, or in your medicine cabinet.
- You’re sharing it.
The last thing you want to do is share your toothbrush with anyone! Even if you clean the toothbrush before and after, you still increase your risk for infection. So, make sure everyone’s toothbrush is distinctive or has a unique location that can’t cause confusion.
- You aren’t changing it enough.
How long have you had your current toothbrush? If you’ve said longer than 4 months, your toothbrush has been around too long. The ADA recommends you change your toothbrush every 4 to 6 months to ensure the effectiveness of the bristles. If you notice the bristles look matted down or broken apart, you’ll want to replace it sooner.
As important as brushing is, nothing does quite the job of a professional cleaning by the dentist. If you haven’t had your checkup in a while, schedule an appointment with Denise DiBona, DDS, LLC today by calling 732-945-5343 or schedule online.