10 common Teethlicious Mistakes and How to correct them this New Year

Happy New Year! Its Teethlicious Tuesday,  on this day we talk about the “Tooth”, and nothing but the “Tooth”. 

A lot of things have to change this new year. Most people are not caring for their teeth properly and see a dentist only when it hurts. There are two ways to care for your teeth.

  1. Daily Home care and
  2. Professional care at least every 6 months
For your home care, you may be doing things the wrong way all these years and here are 10 teethlicious mistakes you may have been doing and how to correct them this new year. We are all probably guilty of one or more of these mistakes, read, learn, share so we all stay on the right path.

Teethlicious Mistake 1: Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing

It may be common practice, but rinsing your mouth out with water after brushing your teeth isn’t a good idea. water is said to reduce the amount of fluoride left and this reduces the efficiency of the fluoride from your toothpaste.
Fluoride is the single-most important ingredient in toothpaste. It strengthens the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. It also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on your teeth produce.
It may also be surprising to some but using mouthwash directly after brushing is also bad for our teeth as it also rinses away fluoride.
How to correct this mistake:
  • Spit the toothpaste out. Spit don’t rinse.
  • If you do like to use mouthwash, Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride try to use it at a separate time to brushing to ensure that you get the full benefit of the fluoride in your toothpaste.
  • Turn off the tap during brushing.
  • Don’t drink water or beverages immediately, wait at least half an hour after brushing your teeth.

Teethlicious Mistake 2: Storing Your Toothbrush In The Bathroom.

This might be for easy access but when you store your toothbrush in your bathroom and you flush your toilet, the contents of your toilet bowl are sprayed in all directions. And these can get human feces which contain loads of bacteria on your toothbrush.

How to correct this mistake:
  • Put a lid on your toothbrush.
  • Store someplace other than your bathroom
  • Close the lid on your toilet seat before flushing.

Teethlicious Mistake 3: Forgetting to Clean Your Tongue

After brushing teeth, most of us forget to clean the tongue. Cleaning the tongue is to prevent bad breath and remove bacteria. It’s important to clean your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
How to correct this mistake:
  • Use a tongue cleaner/scraper. It scrapes the residual bacteria off your tongue.
  • Get a toothbrush that has a tongue scraper on the opposite side.
  • Use the bristles of your brush to clean your tongue after brushing your teeth. It’s not as good as a tongue scraper, but will get the job done.

Teethlicious Mistake 4: Changing your toothbrush rarely.

You can see the bristles every morning bent over and begging you to let go, but you ignore and use it anyway. Frayed or broken bristles won’t clean your mouth properly. After a couple of months of daily use – bacteria and food particles begin to accumulate on the toothbrush.
With consistent use the average life of a toothbrush is about three months.
How to correct this mistake:
  • Change your toothbrush once the bristles lose their flexibility.
  • Change your toothbrush every three months: Set a system to buy at-least 4 toothbrushes beginning of the year and change January, April, July and October.

Teethlicious Mistake 5: Using A Hard Bristle Toothbrush

Most people feel the harder the bristles the better it will clean. But the teeth and gums are not like the kitchen or bathroom floors that need hard scrubbing. They are living tissues that need tender care. If the bristles are too hard or stiff,  they can hurt your gums and wear enamel off causing tooth sensitivity to cold and hot substances.

How to correct this mistake:
  • Go for medium, soft or extra soft bristles. All you need is a brush to dislodge food particles that are stuck in between your teeth.
  • Always check the pack for the type of bristle before you buy at the store.

Teethlicious Mistake 6: Not Brushing Your Teeth Long Enough

The average person’s brushing time is ONLY 45 seconds. We are routinely unconsciously cutting short our brushing time, like a check list off our morning routine and often parts of the mouth get neglected especially the back teeth and sides.
Two minutes is the recommended duration for a tooth brushing session. Anything shorter than 2 minutes doesn’t give the fluoride in your toothpaste enough time to attach to your tooth enamel.
How to correct this mistake:
  • Use electronic toothbrushes with timers
  • Use a stopwatch on your phone or
  • Play a song while brushing that lasts for two minutes.
  • Use what you can to ensure you brush your teeth for two minutes.


Teethlicious Mistake 7: Using Incorrect Brushing Technique And Motion.

Most of us learnt our brushing techniques from our parents or guardians without much focus on correct technique and now brushing teeth is something we do on auto pilot.

We end up brushing back and front focusing on the same areas especially the front teeth and by habit forget some other areas and not consciously think of the technique.
How to correct this mistake:
  • You should always hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to the gumline and .
  • Make short circular strokes. Correct way to brush your teeth is in circles, don’t go back and forth. Circular motions are more gentle and effective at cleaning the gaps between the teeth.
  • Avoid brushing so hard that the bristles bend on your teeth

Teethlicious Mistake 8: Brushing Teeth More Than Twice A Day.

Some people think it’s okay to brush three or four times a day usually after every meal. There is no need to brush your teeth more than two times a day.  Brushing more than two times a day can actually damage your gums and erodes the enamel on your teeth.

How to correct this mistake:
  • At-least Twice a day is enough.

Teethlicious Mistake 9: Avoiding the Use of Dental Floss

Using dental floss seem to be a very difficult oral hygiene practice to add to our routine. Majority avoid using it. Flossing is required at least once a day to remove plaque between your teeth, where your toothbrush doesn’t reach.

How to correct this mistake:
  • Make it a habit to start flossing daily. The hardest part is getting started but its new year a good time to start something new.
  • Set up a system to floss at the end of the day.

Teethlicious Mistake 10: Using your teeth as a tool

The teeth are the strongest in the body and most of us rely on it as a tool. To open, tear and cut substances which are not food. Especially as a bottle opener, removing tapes, opening sweets & biscuits and removing tags on clothing etc.
We are all guilty but using your teeth as a tool can cause chips and breaks and expose dentine to the environment causing sensitivity, and propagation of caries  them to fractures
How to correct this mistake:
  • Use the right tool. Avoid temptation to use your teeth as a tool by making the right tools available in your homes and offices eg bottle opener, scissors and razor blades.
  • Act smart. Do not accept a dare or try to show off to family and friends you have got very strong teeth and been doing this for ages so you won’t stop the habit. You will only be displaying openly your ignorance and disregard for education. Only sensitivity and toothache will eventually teach you a lesson. Prevention is better than cure. A word to the wise is enough.
Thanks for reading and spread the knowledge. Stay tuned next week for more on #Teethlicious Tuesdays with Dr Oyaks.

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