Oral health that is doing you more harm than good

Trying to keep your teeth in good shape is important, but you could be making mistakes.

Oral health that may be causing harm

Brushing your teeth regularly is one of the best ways to maintain oral health, but some attempts at dental hygiene may be doing more harm than good.

Here are some of the mistakes people commonly make with their oral health.

Brushing too hard
Your instincts may be to brush harder to get those deposits off your teeth, but you’re actually doing more damage by doing so, according to many hygienists. While your teeth can take the pressure, your gums can’t – and you could end up exposing roots by going too hard. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and other issues. Some dental professionals suggest using an electric toothbrush to even out the pressure along your teeth and gums, but if you’re into conventional brushes, use a soft-bristled one as the harder varieties could actually damage your gums.

Brushing the wrong way
You should be holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums, not flat against them. Instead of going for long sweeping motions of the brush, you should make short tooth-length passes in a gentle fashion.

Using the wrong toothpaste
Whitening toothpastes are extremely popular, and these products generally work, helping you to increase the brightness of your smile over time. Unfortunately, the particles in these whitening toothpastes can sometimes damage the enamel of your teeth. If you’re whitening and experiencing sensitivity, consider switching to a more enamel-friendly toothpaste.

Brushing at the wrong time
You should not brush your teeth immediately after eating, particularly if you have been eating acidic foods and drinks like salad dressing and soft drink. The acids in your food can soften the enamel in your teeth and you can end up brushing away the enamel. You should wait at least half an hour after eating before you brush.

Flossing incorrectly
Flossing your teeth can do more harm than good if not performed correctly. Using floss correctly can remove pieces of food and plaque from between teeth. However, many people floss incorrectly, pushing plaque between the teeth down underneath their gums. Another common error is using a sawing action to drag the floss back and forth, which doesn't remove plaque and can traumatise the gums.

How often do you visit the dentist? Do they provide you with any tips for your oral health?

Find out more about your dental health at ada.org.au



    To make a comment, please register or login
    16th Jan 2018
    Ok here's one. Do you put the toothpaste on the brush or in your mouth?

    I often put the toothpaste in my mouth and swish it around. Then use a soft brush. If I put the toothpaste on the brush i get a whole lot of froth and cant tell what teeth I am brushing.

    I think an electric toothbrush is a good thing to have, because it can put a lot of good brushing up around the back molars that are hard to reach.

    I like the way the brush can go backwards and forwards without actually spinning. I have an easy to change brush, just pull straight up and it comes off, then put on a new one, usually a soft type.
    16th Jan 2018
    Have you ever wondered if the electric toothbrush is wearing down the enamel?
    18th Jan 2018
    It will wear the gums before the enamel and receding gums can cause decay in places that are hard to repair. The dentist says I can use an electric brush every day, but I only use it a couple of times a week on top of twice a day regular brushing... Softest brush I can find and a swish of tooth paste.
    16th Jan 2018
    brush mine twice a day - am with electric toothbrush for at least 3 minutes and before bed with a manual toothbrush (no toothpaste this time) for at least 3 minutes. I am 71 and have all my own teeth with about 5 fillings from years ago.

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