When it comes to taking care of your teeth, you probably already know that it’s important to brush your teeth regularly. But did you know that if you brush too often or use the wrong type of toothbrush, you could be doing more harm than good? In today’s blog from James W. Mellert and Associates, we’re going to review some of the bad habits you should avoid while brushing. Keep reading, and if you’re looking for a Torrance dentist, we invite you to give us a call. 

Using the Wrong Kind of Toothbrush

When you go shopping for a new toothbrush, what do you look for? Do you shop for a particular brand or try to find one in your favorite color? Picking out a toothbrush is about more than just a name or a color — it’s about function, and that’s why it’s necessary to pay attention to the size and bristle texture.

Large toothbrushes may not be able to get into the tight areas in between teeth and in the back of your mouth, so for most people, a small to medium-sized toothbrush is best. Also, brushes usually come in soft, medium, and firm bristle texture. You might think that choosing one that is firm will help to scrub more debris off of your teeth. However, what you might really be scrubbing off is enamel — the protective layer on your teeth. Using a firm toothbrush or scrubbing too hard can damage enamel, and that leaves your teeth prone to decay and greater sensitivity. Get a soft toothbrush instead — it will still remove food particles and plaque buildup without causing damage.

Storing Your Toothbrush in the Wrong Place

Most people don’t give a thought to the location of where they store their toothbrush, but they should. Since most people tend to brush their teeth in the bathroom, they usually store their toothbrush in the same place, and oftentimes that’s right next to the sink and toilet. Any time you run the water or flush the toilet, water spray and anything else becomes airborne and can easily land on your toothbrush if it’s in the vicinity. Not only is the thought of what is happening repulsive, but it’s also a good way to spread bacteria. And, when that bacteria lands on something that is going directly into your mouth, it puts you at risk of getting sick.

Even if you store your toothbrush behind closed doors in a cupboard or medicine cabinet, don’t store it upside down in the cup you use to rinse with. The moisture from the cup and from your toothbrush can accumulate in the bottom and potentially grow mold and bacteria. Wherever you store your toothbrush, make sure the head is facing up in a well-ventilated area so it can dry quickly.

Keeping Your Toothbrush For Too Long

With everything going on in life, it’s easy to forget to buy a new toothbrush. It’s probably the last thing on your mind when you’re at the store. However, using a toothbrush for too long affects its functionality and puts you at risk for ingesting high levels of bacteria. That’s because when you brush your teeth, tiny microscopic pieces of food are left on your toothbrush even after you rinse it. The build-up of these tiny particles not only contributes to the “yuck factor”, but they can also act as food for bacteria that are on your brush as well. That’s why it’s a good idea to swap out your old toothbrush for a fresh, clean one every few months. 

Another reason not to keep your toothbrush for too long is that over time, the bristles will tend to get frayed, making them less effective at cleaning your teeth. So, exactly how often should you get a new toothbrush or head for your electronic toothbrush? Experts recommend changing them every three months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Keep in mind that if you’re seeing frayed bristles in less than three months, you might be brushing too hard and damaging your teeth.

Not Brushing Consistently

Most dentists agree that you should brush your teeth twice a day — once in the morning and once at night. But, like anything, it can be hard to stick to this routine every single day. You might be tired at the end of the day and just want to go to sleep. Or, if you’re like most people, you spend the morning rushing around trying to do all of the things you have to do without being late for work or school. Unfortunately, when you’re strapped for time, brushing your teeth may not seem like much of a priority. Do yourself a favor and set aside the 10 minutes a day it takes to brush your teeth in the morning and night. It’s a small sacrifice that will reap big benefits and it’s the easiest way to ensure a healthy mouth for many more years to come.

If you’re already brushing your teeth twice a day — great job! The habits you are practicing are good for oral health. Just make sure that your quality of brushing is making the time you are spending worth your while. In other words, brushing twice a day for less than 15 seconds each time probably isn’t doing you much good. To get the full effect, the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day. Any less may not be enough to completely clean your teeth, and any more could be causing damage to your enamel. 

Keep Your Smile Looking Great With a Torrance Dentist Who Cares

Having good brushing habits is essential for healthy gums and teeth — but it’s only part of a complete oral health plan. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year for checkups and professional cleanings is also necessary to address any potential problems and keep your smile looking great. Whether you’re new to the area, not happy with your current dentist, or it’s just been a while since you’ve visited one, if you’re looking for a Torrance dentist, we encourage you to make an appointment at Dr. James W. Mellert and Associates. We offer general, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry for people of all ages. Our state-of-the-art facility features the latest technologies including 3-D imaging to ensure our patients have access to the newest treatments and receive the best possible care.

Visit our website to learn about the services we offer and to schedule an appointment online. Or, if you prefer, call our office and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have and find a time that is most convenient for you.