10 tooth brushing mistakes you didn’t know you were making


We all brush at least once a day, don’t we? And sometimes when we brush twice, we feel that we are taking painstaking efforts and still there is a toothache. Or a sensitivity problem. Aren’t we cleaning and scrubbing our teeth enough? What is going wrong?

Fun fact. The harder and more vigorously you brush, the more sensitive your teeth will become. Unfortunately, the correct toothbrushing technique isn’t a part of our school curriculum. So here are the 10 toothbrushing mistakes I am elaborating that most people commonly make.


Mistake No.1: Brushing with a hard brush

This has damaging consequences. Soft bristles are better than hard. Hard bristles cause wearing of the teeth enamel ultimately resulting in sensitivity problems.


Mistake No. 2: Brushing with the toothbrush long after the bristled have frayed

A toothbrush will effectively remove dirt from your teeth for 3-4 months from the time it starts getting used. After three months, the bristles fray and the effectiveness to remove plaque comes down. It is advised to change toothbrush when you first see the sign of bristles fraying.


Mistake No. 3: Horizontal brushing

The direction of brushing is extremely important. Many of us use a sweeping motion which erodes the tooth enamel. This can have serious detrimental effects. Instead of a sweeping motion, use a gentler, circular technique or ask your dentist which is the best-suited brushing method for you.


Mistake No. 4: Picking a random toothbrush

Make sure you select an appropriate toothbrush for yourself. The toothbrush should be comfortable to hold. If the grip isn’t good, cleaning will be ineffective. The size of the brush head should be such that all the teeth should be accessed. If the size of the brush head is too big, then the last tooth of the jaw will not be reached.


Mistake No. 5: Neglecting other areas of your mouth

There are many areas in your mouth that are neglected. You don’t brush/massage your gums, inner side of the upper and lower teeth, tongue etc. This ultimately results in ineffective brushing.


Mistake No. 6: Picking random toothpaste

Do not pick a toothpaste that has high amounts of abrasives. This can cause excessive wearing of the gums and tooth enamel. Use of appropriate toothpaste (such as those with 1000ppm fluoride), floss and mouthwashes are very important. Only when brushing is followed by these adjuncts, the results are effective.


Mistake No. 7: You brush too quickly

Do not compensate on the time you spend on brushing for rushing to work or school in the mornings or hitting the bed at night. If you brush too quickly, you are not spending enough time in removing the plaque from your teeth properly. Or you do miss a few surfaces of your teeth. Spend at least 2-3 minutes on your brushing.


Mistake No. 8: Storing toothbrush at the wrong place

If you keep toothbrushes of all the members of your family together, chances of bacteria spreading from one toothbrush to another are higher. Do not store it near the toilet. Chances of bacterial spread are higher. Also, do not leave your toothbrush moist. It is an excellent reservoir for bacterial growth. Allow your brush to dry out in between use.


Mistake No. 9: “My teeth are clean. Brushing once is enough”

You assume your teeth are clean enough and brushing once will suffice. Bacteria in your mouth grow within very short periods of time. In order to remove them in a timely manner, it is recommended to brush twice daily.


Mistake No. 10: “My teeth just don’t feel clean. I brush 3-4 times a day.”

Excessive brushing can irritate the gums and teeth. Brushing twice a day is sufficient, but sometimes three times is also okay. Anything beyond this is going to have a detrimental effect.

Toothbrushing is one of the most basic forms of personal hygiene. Keeping these points in mind will give you effective results. Stay healthy!! Stay happy!!


About the author:

Dr. Paresh Lotlekar is the Founder and CEO at Studio32 Dental Care Pvt. Ltd., a chain of super specialty dental clinics in Goa. He has completed his BDS from Goa Dental College and Hospital and MDS in Periodontology and Oral Implantology from the prestigious KLE University, Belgaum. He offers passionate insight and smart advice on oral health and wellness through his blogs. Connect with him at drpareshlotlekar@gmail.com.

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