Keeping your teeth in perfect condition is easy, isn’t it? We all brush our teeth twice a day from an early age; what could we possibly be doing wrong?
As it turns out, the answer is “quite a bit”. Over the last few decades, scientists and dentists have learned a huge amount about how best to take care of our smiles, so maybe it’s time that we modified our cleaning regime?
If you want to keep your teeth in their best condition possible then the following tips will point you in the right direction…
Forgetting to Clean Every Surface
The average person brushes across the tops of their teeth, then uses an up-and-down motion for their front teeth, followed by a “front-to-back” action for their molars. However, while this is certainly better than not brushing at all, such a habit may be missing major parts of your mouth.
Experts now refer to the five sides of each tooth – front, back, left side, right side and top. And it’s important to clean each and every one of the those, for every tooth in your mouth.
There are two secrets to help achieve this goal. Firstly, ensure that you use dental floss or interdental brushes (depending on how closely your teeth fit together) to insure you clean between your teeth every single day.
Secondly, consider investing in an electric toothbrush, whose rotating head tends to be far more effective than using a manual toothbrush. Indeed, one study in San Francisco found that electric toothbrushes alone can be “as effective for plaque removal and control of gingival inflammation as a combination of conventional tooth-brushing, flossing, and toothpicks”.
Not Brushing for Long Enough
I know you brush your teeth just before bed, when you’re half asleep, but a quick thirty-second brush simply doesn’t do the job thoroughly.
Most dentists now recommend a brushing period of around two to three minutes, which can feel like an awfully long time when you first time yourself.
Just be aware that such a length of time has been shown to significantly increase brushing results and, by extension, to reduce plaque build-up. For example, one study found that brushing for two minutes removed 26% more plaque than brushing for just 45 seconds.
Not Replacing Your Toothbrush Frequently
Over time the bristles of your toothbrush become worn and misshapen. As this happens, so your toothbrush’s cleaning effectiveness can reduce dramatically.
Most experts now recommend that your toothbrush (or the head, on an electric model) is replaced every three months, or when the bristles become visibly worn, whichever happens to occur first.
Missing Your Tongue
Evidence suggests that the tongue contributes more to fresh breath than just brushing and flossing alone.
Indeed, studies suggest that over 50% of all cases of bad breath can be traced back to tongue residues, so the importance of tongue scraping to keep your breath fresh cannot be overstated.
So, while neglecting your tongue in your oral care routine is unlikely to negatively impact the health and strength of your teeth, it can result in less-favourable breath odour.
Not Using Antibacterial Mouthwash
Many of the top-selling brands of mouthwash are primarily a mixture of alcohol and mint flavouring. They offer a zingy, refreshing way to end your oral care routine, but seemingly do little for your oral health.
As it turns out, alcohol-based mouthwashes tend to dry out the mouth, and this reduced flow of saliva can allow unpleasant bacteria to grow in the mouth. These are the very same bacteria that lead to cavities and cause bad breath.
Instead of using a traditional alcohol-containing mouthwash, therefore, instead consider one of the premium anti-bacterial mouthwashes which truly fight against bacterial infections.