From the time you were a young child, you were taught to make good use of your toothbrush. Brushing, followed by flossing, is the best way to keep plaque from adhering and harboring bacteria that cause inflammation and tooth decay. These are all facts that most adults have known for most of their lives. And herein lies the problem.
When tooth-brushing is old hat, little effort is needed to get the job done. You may find yourself performing oral care with minimal attention, really, because you know what to do. The familiarity with brushing could lead to common mistakes that present hazards to oral health. Let’s see what they are, and what you can do to avoid them.
- Keeping a toothbrush too long. It’s hard to know when a toothbrush needs to be replaced. There is that message “replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months” in the back of the mind, but with no clear expiration date displayed where it’s easy to see, a toothbrush may be used far longer than it should be. Don’t wait for your toothbrush to start losing bristles, create a habit for a replacement that is easy to maintain.
- Choosing the wrong kind of toothbrush. We don’t all need the same type of toothbrush. Some people find that an electric toothbrush best suits their needs, and others like to do the work themselves. As a general rule, though, what dentists recommend is that patients choose soft-bristled toothbrushes for routine use. Rigid bristles are abrasive to gum tissue and also to enamel.
- Trying too hard. Oh, how we love that squeaky-clean feeling! Sometimes, though, the desire for cleanliness can lead to aggressive brushing. When too much force is behind the toothbrush, we run into the same problem we do with hard bristles, abrasion; and abrasion means erosion and recession, two problems we’d rather our patients avoid.
- Brushing too frequently. Most people brush morning and night. Some people throw an extra brushing session in after lunch. Fortunately, even fewer people brush multiple times a day. The temptation to brush more than 3 times a day should be resisted, as this can ultimately wear down enamel and create a greater susceptibility to sensitivity and cavities.
The team at Lerner & Lemongello is here to support your oral health goals. Schedule a checkup & cleaning with us at (561) 627-9000.