Like so many valuable life skills, there’s a right way and a wrong way to brush your teeth.
A little brushing up can’t hurt anyone’s technique, so let’s take a look at five of the most common mistakes.
How hard do you brush your teeth? Are you a gentle-pressure person or are you using Jedi levels of force? If it’s the latter, you could be overbrushing.
A good way to find out is to imagine brushing a tomato using the same pressure you apply to your teeth. If the skin breaks or blemishes, you could be overbrushing – a significant cause of bleeding, painful or sensitive gums.
Do you rinse your mouth with water after brushing? If so, you’re committing a big dental no-no.
Rinsing with water softens the protective effects of fluoride. So – no matter how good it feels – resist the rinse!
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes quickly lose their cleaning power and you should be changing yours regularly.
Just like toothpaste manufacturers, the makers of toothbrushes want to sell more units. But the advice they give on replacing your brush often isn’t far wrong.
You should be changing brushes around every two months. If you reach the point where your bristles appear flattened, bent or soft, it’s time to hit the shops for a replacement.
Are you an up-and-downer or a left-to-righter? You shouldn’t be either one! In fact, you should be brushing with a small circular motion, holding the brush at an angle. This is the only way to ensure you reach all those little nooks and crannies and stay plaque-free.
Ever seen those toothpaste adverts in which the brush is topped with a perfect strip of paste? Of course you have! Toothpaste manufacturers want to sell more toothpaste, so it’s in their interest to show brushes slathered with copious amounts of paste.
In reality, you’ll want the toothpaste to be no larger than a single pea – that’s around 7mm. Any more and you could be getting too much fluoride.
Using a pea-sized blob is not only better for your teeth – it’ll make your tube of toothpaste go further too.
Oh, and here’s a bonus factoid: The little blob of toothpaste on your toothbrush is called a ‘nurdle.’ So there you go.