Brushing mistakes we make every day

Published by Dr. P. VIdhiyasagar M.D.S., on

Though  you have been brushing your teeth for years,you will be surprised to learn that you have not be doing it properly. There are several common mistakes that you make when it comes to brushing your teeth.just a small adjustment can help you get on the way to better habits.


The common brushing mistakes you might be making


  1. You pick the wrong toothbrush


A toothbrush help clean or clear away the food particles that are stuck between your teeth. You may be using power toothbrush a manual one.the key factor is that it should have soft  bristles.the bristles should be soft enough to bend in,to get right under the gum.this will help remove the bacteria and plaque on your teeth and gums.plaque is a soft and tooth decay.a soft brush is very effective in cleaning your teeth.


People generally think that the harder the bristles are, the more they help in cleaning their tooth.but that is not necessarily true.the use of hard toothbrush or even a medium one for  a long period can damage your gums and abrade your teeth.

  1. You use the wrong toothpaste


There are different types of toothpaste available in the market and each one claims  to be the best . A few are;


  • Anti -cavity toothpaste  
  • Periodontal toothpaste
  • Toothpaste for sensitive toothpaste
  • Fluoride toothpaste
  • Whitening toothpaste


Do you know that there are certain types of toothpaste only meant for sensitive teeth? I am sure that not many know this. I  have seen a whole family using sensitivity toothpaste. In fact,this type of toothpaste is meant only for the population,especially the elderly who have sensitivity towards sweet,cold or hot foods.That is where you might be making a mistake. No matter how good toothpaste is,all you need do know is which type is the best one for you.your dentist can help you find out the best one for your teeth.

  1. You do not brush long enough


Proper brushing takes at least a couple of might be surprised that most people in a hurry do not even come closer this duration. It will be good,if you consider brushing one minute each on both the upper and lower teeth. You can use the stopwatch on your phone. Another fun way to make sure that your kids brush long enough is to use a small two-minute hourglass / sand timer. Headphones are yet another easy way. If you can brush while listening to your favorite song of 2-3-minutes duration,it will help ensure that you have brushed for two whole minutes.


There are also electric toothbrushes with self-timer to help you get on track.two minutes is sufficient enough for the toothpaste ingredients to act on the dirt and bacteria. If you do not brush your teeth long enough,your teeth may not get clean enough.if you leave behind bacteria on the tooth after brushing,it may lead to serious problems,such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Additionally,according to recent studies,heavy plaque formation in the mouth leads to plaque build-up in the arteries, which in turn, can lead to a heart   attack.


4.You go back and forth


You need to brush your teeth vertically to remove the dirt. Brushing hard in back and forth direction will not help remove the pieces of food stuck between your teeth.moreover,brushing with too much pressure can cause abrasion of the enamel and gum tissue, which in turn, contributes to tooth sensitivity. This is usually evident from the horizontal cuts seen on the elderly people, due to years of horizontal brushing, especially with a hard toothbrush.


  1. You give to much gap between brushings


Sames as your body your teeth need regular cleaning too. The food remnants or plaque on your teeth should be cleaned off at an interval of every 12 hours. There is always a risk of plaque can lead to calculus, a yellow lining on the base of the tooth that meets the gum. This is often  the first cause of gum disease which may lead to the inflammation of the gums and bleeding during brushing.That is why, it has been recommended that everyone should “brush twice a day”; once in the morning and once at night . brushing the tooth twice a day will help improve your oral health, besides  boosting your overall well-being.


  1. You forget the rest of your mouth


It has been a traditional thinking that brushing means brushing only your teeth. This is absolutely wrong! What about the bacteria and dirt on the remaining part of your mouth? Firstly, you should also brush your gums while brushing the tooth. Ideally, you have to brush the gum line as well. The gum line is the area where your teeth and gums meet.


Secondly, you should brush the tongue of the brushing your teeth and gums. The cause of bad smell in the mouth is mostly because of the decayed food particles and odor-causing bacteria in your mouth / you should consider it as essential to clean your you should consider it as essential to clean your tongue as well, with a toothbrush or soft tongue cleaner.


7.You hold on to your toothbrush too long


The average lifespan of a toothbrush is three months,if it is consistently used twice a days. After the stipulated period,you should discard it and get a fresh one, as the bristles to angulation can make your brushing 70% less effective,and also injure your gums.


8.You do not check out your own teeth


Often in hurry, you may not bother checking your teeth. Since you do not feel any irritation or pain,or you are in the belief that brushing has removed all dirt, you may not check if there is any cavity, or food lodgment. One thing you do not know is that a cavity does not hurt or give any sensation / alarm unless the bacteria enter the innermost part of your teeth, which contains the nerves and blood vessels. Only then, you feel toothache, i.e., when it is too late to save the tooth with a simple filling.


Why should you let the situation deteriorate?Here is what we can do. After each brushing, look in the mirror for any deposits on your gum line both on the outside and inside of your teeth. Secondly look for any black spots on the surface of each tooth. If you see any of these, consult your dentist and get rid of those hard deposits or black spots, as soon as you can.


9.You brush your teeth straight after or before eating


Now, there are a few people who are very conscious about their oral cleanliness and brush almost perfectly, spending a lot of time and effort. But they may also end up having issues. Here is yet another mistake,we might be making; that is, brushing right before breakfast and right after dinner. Yes, this is harmful. What happens after brushing  is that the minerals are being rebuilt up on the tooth surface. Having food right after brushing also affects the remineralization pattern going on in your mouth.


On the contrary, soon after eating, your mouth holds an acidic environment. Brushing in this acidic niche can dissolve your enamel surface causing sensitivity. Therefore, it is best recommended to give a 30 minutes’ gap between your brushing and eating and vice-versa.


10.You leave you brush overnight in the bathroom open


You might think that this is probably the least possible mistake you make. There are two things behind this. Firstly,many studies show that toothbrushes, which are left open in that bathroom, are likely to have fecal species on it. It is a proven fact!


Secondly, insects and crawlies may come and lick your brush at night. This is also unhygienic. So, the best solution is to keep it outside your bathroom,essentially undercover.




Curing a disease is always more expensive and cumbersome than its prevention. Brushing your teeth correctly will help prevent problems in future,leaving you with reduced dental bills. In short, the correct way of brushing not only helps save your teeth but also helps prevent many serious diseases!


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