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Tooth brushing is a daily ritual we all follow. So it comes as a shock when your dentist tells you that you oral hygiene isn't maintained well. Wonder what went wrong? Here are the top oral hygiene mistakes you must be committing that have got you those remarks.
1. Brushing too long or too often
We all know that brushing is necessary to maintain good oral hygiene. But that doesn't mean you need to brush every time you eat. Brushing too often and/or for too long can erode your tooth enamel. While brushing thrice a day would be ideal, brush at least twice a day once in the morning and once in the night for two to three minutes.
2. Brushing too hard
When there is a stain we all have the tendency to rub off the stain harder. But that doesn't hold true when it comes to stains on your teeth. Brushing too hard can injure your gums and cause them to recede. When you apply excess pressure while brushing, the enamel of your teeth may erode and make your teeth more susceptible to decay.
3. Brushing immediately after eating
Brushing soon after eating or drinking acidic foods is one big mistake lot of people do. Doing so can increase the risk of tooth abrasion. Wondering how? Soon after you eat or drink acidic foods, the acids in the food weaken the enamel of your teeth. Hence postpone brushing to at least 30 minutes after meals by which time the saliva secreted in the mouth can neutralise the acids.
4. Not brushing all surfaces of the teeth
Are you one of those people who brush only the chewing surface because that's where you think food gets stuck? Well, you couldn't be more wrong! Food can also get stuck between your teeth and below your gum line too. Remember that plaque needs to be removed from all surfaces outer, inner and chewing of the teeth. And do not forget to brush the inner surfaces of teeth where the tongue presses against the teeth.
5. Ignoring the tongue
Brushing is not limited to just the teeth. Your tongue needs to be cleaned too. The grooves and ridges on your tongue can be breeding ground for bacteria.
6. Using the wrong toothbrush
So, you have mastered all the techniques of brushing. But do you still feel that you are not getting the desired results? Go, check your toothbrush. May be you are using the wrong kind! Toothbrush with harsh bristles can not only damage the enamel of your teeth, but can damage your gums too. It is also important to choose a toothbrush with a size that compliments the size of your mouth and your teeth.
7. Not cleaning and drying your toothbrush after brushing
Take time to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly. Shake off excess water and let it stand to dry. Insufficiently rinsed and not properly dried toothbrush can encourage bacterial growth on it.
8. Not replacing your toothbrush
When was the last time that you replaced your toothbrush? Don't remember? With time brushes lose their flexibility and the bristles begin to wear out. Hence not changing your toothbrush from time to time can make your efforts to maintain oral hygiene useless. It's important to change your brush every three months.
9. Not using a floss
No matter how thoroughly you brush your toothbrush bristles just can't reach the food and bacteria that hide in the spaces between your teeth. Flossing can help remove plaque from areas that the toothbrush can't reach i.e. between your teeth and under the gum line. Floss once or twice a day preferably after dinner. If you floss more often you may end up irritating and damaging your gums.
10. Not rinsing your mouth
Most people never rinse their mouth out after eating. If you are one among them, it's time to make rinsing the mouth a habit. It's impractical to brush every time you eat. But what is practical is rinsing your mouth every time you eat. Rinsing helps dislodge and get rid of food particles from the mouth. It also helps reduce the acidity in the mouth.
11. Not keeping up with your regular dental check-ups
Even if you correct all your oral hygiene mistakes, you still need to visit your dentist once in six months. Plaque that remains on the teeth undergoes mineralisation and forms a hard, flaky substance called calculus which cannot be easily removed with the toothbrush. These deposits can be removed only by professional scaling or cleaning.
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