Dental health is a daily chore. But even after years of brushing and flossing, thousands still experience dental health issues due to extremely common mistakes! There’s a good chance you don’t have a dentist looking over your shoulder every day, so you could be making these mistakes too!
Read on to learn about some of the most common oral care mistakes and how they can impact your short-term and long-term dental health.
#1. Brushing Too Hard
Brushing your teeth sounds like one of the simplest things you can do. But did you know that it’s possible to brush your teeth incorrectly? It’s true!
If you use too much force when brushing your teeth, you won’t just remove plaque and bacteria – you’ll also remove your tooth’s enamel. This protective shield on your teeth can’t be regenerated, so once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Extremely abrasive brushing wears away at this enamel over time. You won’t destroy it just because of a few days spent brushing too hard. But over the years, aggressive brushing can make your enamel erode earlier than it otherwise would, leaving your teeth vulnerable to cavities and decay.
Are you whitening your teeth with a bleaching kit? Be careful about using too much of a good thing! Whitening strips and bleaching trays use harsh chemicals to restore your teeth to their natural whiteness. The more you use them, the more damage the chemical can do.
Over time, overbleaching will lead to several potential dental health issues, such as:
- Heightened tooth sensitivity
- Irritated/receding gums
- Translucent/chalky tooth appearance
Don’t go overboard with your home whitening solutions! If you want whiter teeth, speak with your dentist to find out about better options, such as in-office whitening.
#3. Brushing After Soda or Juice
By now, it’s no secret that sodas and citric juices are harmful to your teeth. These acidic beverages wear away at your enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable. That’s why it may come as a surprise that one of the worst things to do after enjoying these drinks is to brush your teeth!
It may sound counterintuitive, but the problem is simple: the acid weakens your teeth. If you brush right after a pop, your brushing will push the acid deeper into the enamel or dentin and lead to additional wear.
A scientific study found that brushing up to 20 minutes after an “acidic attack” on your teeth lead to more enamel loss than waiting 60 minutes. So, if you have a pop or morning orange juice, wait an hour before brushing!
#4. Trying to Whiten with Apple Cider Vinegar
If soda or citric acid are dangerous to teeth, then apple cider vinegar should be considered catastrophic. Unfortunately, countless articles recommend apple cider vinegar as a natural option for whitening teeth. Like many natural alternatives, such as charcoal toothpaste, there isn’t much science to back these claims.
On the scale of acidic substances, apple cider vinegar is often nearly as acidic as battery or stomach acid. There’s a reason that even health gurus recommend you dilute it with a significant amount of water! But no matter what you do, this popular health craze will lead to more damage done in less time than other acidic substances like soda.
If you want to whiten your teeth, stick with ADA-approved methods, or speak with your dentist for their recommendations.
#5. Avoiding Your Dentist Appointments
Unfortunately, this dental care mistake is all too common. No matter how good your home care routine is, nothing can circumvent the need for a professional to help examine your teeth and gums to identify potential issues.
The longer you delay your next dentist visit, the more likely you are to allow underlying decay to worsen and lead to bigger problems – like losing a tooth! Early gum disease and minor cavities are easier to deal with than advanced periodontal disease and damaged roots.
If you want to avoid the most damaging dental health issues, don’t skip your regular dentist visits!
#6. Not Staying Hydrated with Water
Staying well hydrated is something any doctor will recommend – including your dentist! Drinking water is a basic task that’s so easy to accomplish — unless you’re used to drinking other beverages like soda and coffee. Water is one of the most important things for your health. It helps your tissues, organs and muscles function properly. Water can even help regulate your body temperature and keep your skin looking fresh and healthy.
Staying hydrated with clean water is also vital for your oral health. It helps with saliva production, which keeps your mouth moist and helps prevent cavities. Like saliva, simply drinking water can help clear away debris from your teeth. This is especially important if you’re indulging in a sweet treat like chocolate or sugary snacks. A simple glass of water could reduce residual sugar in your mouth significantly – fighting back against the bacteria and preventing cavities!
#7. Not Flossing
A serious common dental health mistake people make is not flossing. Flossing is unbelievably important for your oral health. It helps get rid of plaque and food particles that you can’t get to with your toothbrush.
Flossing also helps keep your gums healthy. If your gums are inflamed, it can cause the bone around your teeth to recede, which can lead to tooth loss. If you don’t floss, you’re putting yourself at risk for more serious health problems. For example, gum disease can lead to heart disease, diabetes and early labor if you’re pregnant. So, if you’re not flossing already, now’s the time to start!
Still think flossing isn’t important? Consider this: your teeth consist of 5 “sides”. The front, back, top, and both sides. Brushing alone only cleans 60% of those surfaces. That leaves 40% of the unique surfaces of your teeth uncleaned! That’s a significant amount of bacteria left in your mouth.
#8. Forgetting to Clean Your Tongue
While you’re cleaning your teeth, are you also cleaning your tongue? It’s one thing to floss, but forgetting to brush your tongue is a common dental health mistake that many people make. It’s important to remember that your tongue is covered in tiny hairs called filiform papillae. When you brush your teeth, many of the food particles and bacteria that you consume gets trapped in between the filiform papillae. This bacteria can then spread to other areas of your body. If you are not brushing your tongue, you are missing out on removing the bacteria that is stuck in there.
The Best Way to Avoid Common Dental Care Disasters? Ask Your Dentist!
Your dentist can help you with more than cavities, gum disease and tooth whitening! If you’re not sure that you brush your teeth properly or make the best of your time spent flossing, ask them for help! At your next visit, they can evaluate your brushing technique to ensure you’re taking the best care of your teeth that you can.
Contact Walbridge Dental
Want to know more about teeth whitening methods and find out the best one for you? The professionals at Walbridge Dental have the answers. From routine cleaning and exams to advanced restorative treatments, we offer complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
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