It’s all well and good to brush your teeth twice a day – but a dentist has revealed the five biggest mistakes nearly all of us are making.
Australian doctor Elizabeth Milford said one of the most common errors we make is rinsing the mouth out with water after brushing our teeth.
‘By not rinsing your mouth out after brushing, you keep toothpaste working harder for longer to strengthen and protect your teeth,’ Dr Milford told Daily Mail Australia.
She also warned brushing straight after drinking or eating acidic foods can cause serious damage to your teeth.
‘Depending on what you eat, it might be better to delay brushing for a little while. Acidic foods and drinks can soften the teeth, and brushing straight away could lead to loss of tooth structure,’ she said.
‘Delaying brushing allows time for the natural protection of saliva to take effect.’
Here, she shares the mistakes we’re making when it comes to our brushing routine.
It’s all well and good to brush your teeth twice a day – but a dentist has revealed the five biggest mistakes nearly all of us are making (stock image)
What happens if you don’t brush correctly?
Dr Elizabeth Milford explained if you’re not brushing your teeth correctly, it could lead to oral health problems.
‘Everyone can miss an area every now and then. When an area of a tooth is missed constantly, it might be more susceptible to decay,’ Dr Milford told Daily Mail Australia.
‘When an area of the gums are missed, they might develop a gum disease like gingivitis or periodontitis. Long term gum disease has been linked to other illnesses such as heart disease and increased risk of strokes.
‘Gum disease is also associated with diabetes, where diabetic patients are more likely to get periodontal disease, and active periodontal disease can make it difficult for people to control their blood sugar.’
1. Not brushing for long enough
Dental professionals recommend brushing for two minutes, twice per day but on average, people only brush between 30 and 60 seconds.
‘Using a timer, or an electric toothbrush with a timer, is a great way to stay on track and brush for the recommended two minutes,’ Dr Milford said.
2. Brushing too hard
While some people assume brushing their teeth hard would keep their mouth cleaner but Dr Milford warned it could do more harm than good.
‘We brush our teeth to remove plaque, which is soft but sticky. Some people think that a good scrub will get teeth cleaner, but scrubbing can wear away the teeth, and can hurt the gums,’ she said.
‘It is better to use a soft toothbrush, and use it softly, brushing in little circles. An electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor has been shown to be gentle on teeth and on gums, and can also help people get out of the habit of brushing too hard.’
3. Brushing with an old, shaggy toothbrush
Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three to four months, but Dr Milford this is more important when a ‘toothbrush starts to look a bit scruffy’.
‘Bent and shaggy bristles won’t get to the areas that they need to, and so they won’t work as well. Better to get a new brush, and try not to brush too hard.’
Dr Milford warned brushing straight after drinking or eating acidic foods can cause serious damage to your teeth (stock image)
Former Bachelor star Lisa Hyde showing off the new Oral B Genius AI range with Artificial Intelligence, which recognises your brushing style and helps you improve oral health
Three tricks to brushing teeth correctly
Dr Milford tells Daily Mail Australia her three top tips to brush teeth correctly every time:
Know that you are brushing your teeth correctly, use a two-minute timer, or a toothbrush with a timer.
Don’t forget to brush all the surfaces of your teeth and gums. Electric toothbrushes with Bluetooth can connect to your phone so that you can track where you have brushed and, importantly, see where you have missed.
Don’t forget to clean between your teeth with floss or an interdental brush, for healthy teeth and gums.
4. Brushing teeth but not gums, and missing the gum margin
Dr Milford said another mistake people make is only focusing on brushing their teeth, not gums.
‘We brush and floss to look after our gums as well as our teeth. The pocket where the teeth meet the gums is absolutely vital to keep clean to maintain gum health,’ she said.
5. Avoiding areas that bleed
Dr Milford said you should never avoid brushing areas that bleed.
‘If gum areas are missed, they can get inflamed and bleed easily. It is really common and understandable for people to avoid an area if it bleeds when it is brushed, but the problem won’t go away,’ she said.
‘A gentle brush of the area, twice a day for around 10 to 14 days should solve the problem. If it doesn’t then it is probably best to have it checked by a dental professional.’
Her common mistakes come as Oral B launches its new
‘This brush is able to recognise each individual’s brushing style and provides guidance to help achieve a better brushing result,’ Dr Milford said.
‘The breakthrough technology in Oral-B’s Genius AI gives patients greater insight so they can take control of their oral health.’