brushing your teeth

You do it every day – every single morning and every single night. It’s probably so ingrained into your routine that you don’t think about it before doing it. You just do it.

Brushing your teeth is part of our daily routine that we don’t second guess. But you may be doing it wrong.

Even if you’re in your late 20s and have been brushing your teeth regularly (which would be over 20,000 times), you may not be doing it correctly!

Here’s what you could be doing wrong.

Using the Wrong Bristles

When it comes to brushing your teeth, you want to make sure the toothbrush that you use is the right kind. As exciting as it can be to pick out a fun-colored toothbrush or a specific design you like, that’s not the way to do it.

Not all toothbrushes on the market are up to the advised standards. You want to make sure that you see the word “soft” on the toothbrush that you purchase.

The American Dental Association also recommends that you change out your toothbrush every few months or when you notice that the bristles are frayed.

Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

Applying too much pressure when brushing your teeth can be more detrimental than not brushing hard enough.

If you brush too hard, over time, the enamel on your teeth can be brushed off. As this wears down, teeth become more sensitive, and you will have a higher likelihood of getting cavities. The purpose of the enamel on your teeth is to protect the tooth itself from getting damaged by food, biting/grinding, and bacteria in general.

You can also start to harm your gums by brushing too aggressively as well. When you brush hard, the gum tissue recedes, which allows more of your tooth to be seen.

Because this part of the tooth should not be out of the gum, it doesn’t have as much enamel. When there is not as much enamel, it is more sensitive and more prone to developing cavities.

Sometimes, holding the toothbrush in your non-dominant hand can actually help you lighten the pressure that you put on your teeth. If you are using an electric toothbrush, you do not need to apply any pressure – the contact of the toothbrush on your teeth is enough.

Getting regular checkups will help you to know if you are brushing too hard. Dentists can tell based on your gum line.

Rushing While Brushing

It is recommended that you brush your teeth for about two minutes every morning and night. If you rush through your brushing job, you may not be hitting every tooth. If that’s the case, you are more likely to develop cavities since the bacteria can sit and grow on each tooth.

As hard as it may be, it’s important to stay focused while brushing your teeth. If it helps, try to play your favorite song while brushing to make sure you go a full two minutes. You can even set a timer.

Another great way to ensure that you are brushing your teeth long enough is to get an electric toothbrush that times the job for you. Some vibrate when it is time to switch quadrants of your mouth and then again when two minutes hits.

Using the Wrong Tooth Brushing Techniques

Have you ever heard that there is a right angle to brush your teeth at? The proper angle to brush is 45 degrees. This should be hitting the side of your teeth while also lightly brushing against your gums.

As you hold it at this angle, you gently want to go back and forth on each tooth or set of 2-3 teeth to make sure you are brushing the tooth itself as well as between them.

If you fail to clean your gum line, tooth decay can occur under the gums. Gum disease can also occur if you fail to brush the gum line. But remember, do not brush it too hard or else that will cause the gum line to recede.

Don’t Forget the Tops of Molars and Backs of Teeth

When you think of your smile, you only think about the fronts of your teeth. However, that is not every part of your tooth.

When brushing your teeth, you want to make sure you touch every part of the tooth with the bristles. This includes behind every single tooth near the back of the gum line (roof of your mouth and under your tongue), as well as the tops of your molars where food may get stuck.

If bacteria stays in these areas too long, the tooth can decay and cavities can start to form.

Don’t Go All the Way Back and Forth

It can be easy to brush across your mouth quickly. However, the proper way to brush your teeth is by doing tiny circular strokes.

To help you think about the proper way to brush, think that you are massaging your teeth rather than scrubbing them clean.

Am I Brushing My Teeth Wrong?

After reading this article, you may have realized you’ve been brushing your teeth wrong for quite some time. But don’t worry, once you fix your habits, you will be doing it properly!

Do not forget that you should also be getting preventative care for your teeth every six months. If you are due for a cleaning, contact us today so we can get you in and make sure your teeth are in tip-top shape!