Here are some of the most common oral hygiene mistakes we see, all of which are easily changed. Check your routine against these mistakes, and see if there is anything you can change to make your routine that bit better.
We often have patients coming in with early signs of gum disease, some of which have progressed into periodontal disease. This can be avoided with a good oral hygiene routine.
Not Brushing your Teeth Long Enough
You may think you are brushing your teeth for a long period of time. However, have you actually timed it? The correct length of time you should spend brushing your teeth is two minutes. You will be surprised at how long this feels, but is essential to clean all angles and remove plaque.
Get your timer on, and make sure you brush for two minutes, twice a day.
Brushing your Teeth too Hard
Although you might think you are getting a deeper clean, brushing your teeth too hard can be counterproductive. Signs of over-brushing include tooth sensitivity, receding gums, and indents where the tooth meets the gum.
A gentle, circular motion will be more than enough to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth, without causing any damage. Ensure you are using a soft head toothbrush, or an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor to prevent over-brushing.
Not Flossing or Using Interdental Brushes
While brushing your teeth twice a day is a great start to good oral hygiene, there is one more step that should be included. That is the use of interdental brushes or flossing. It’s the step that most people skip if they are pushed for time, but it is essential to include this daily.
You only need to floss or use interdental brushes once a day, so if you have more time at night time, include this step then. We recommend interdental brushes over flossing for removing food particles. Find out why here!
Not Flossing because you see Blood
Ok, so you have started to floss, but it is making your gums bleed? While stopping flossing might seem like the best thing to do, it is actually not. This is really common in a lot of people. When you first start flossing, your gums are very likely to bleed. However, after 4-7 days this bleeding should stop as your gums get used to the process. Don’t quit straight away, give it time.
If your gums continue to bleed after a week, it could be a sign of gum disease. We recommend you see your dentist if bleeding persists.
Snacking Throughout the Day
It has been said to eat little, and often. However, this can have a negative impact on your teeth. If you are snacking throughout the day, especially on sugary snacks, it can lead to cavities. When you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth start to break down the food or drink you have just consumed. This bacteria produces acid, as a by-product during this process. This acid breaks down the enamel on your teeth which can lead to cavities.
Saliva in your mouth can neutralise this acid. However, if you are constantly snacking throughout the day, you are providing the bacteria with a steady source of food… and therefore acid production. The saliva in your mouth can’t keep up with the level of acid. Therefore, try to avoid snacking throughout the day!
Only seeing your Dentist when you are in pain
Going to see your dentist regularly is really important. Getting your teeth cleaned yearly ensures that all plaque is removed from areas that you may find difficult to reach yourself.
Your dentist can also spot signs of gum disease and treat it before it progresses into a more severe form of gum disease leading to tooth loss. We recommend seeing your dentist every 6 months, but if this isn’t possible a visit once a year should cover you.
These are our most common oral hygiene mistakes that we see. The question is…how many mistakes are you falling into? Can you make a few easy changes to your oral hygiene routine? If you have any questions about your own oral health routine, do get in touch with us today.