Good oral hygiene is not only crucial for a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth, but it could also save your life. Sound dramatic? Well, it is. Research shows that poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease which has been connected to heart disease and a number of other medical conditions.
In one study, researchers found that having gum disease increases a person’s chance of having heart disease by 20%. In addition, the following conditions have also been linked to gum disease.
- Respiratory disease – bacteria in the mouth can migrate to the lungs where they can cause infections.
- Cancer – some research points to a connection between gum disease and certain types of cancer including kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – some research studies show a connection between rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease.
Keeping all this in mind sets the stage for excellent oral hygiene including proper teeth brushing techniques. Here are 6 common brushing mistakes you want to avoid to have the healthiest mouth possible.
Storing your toothbrush in your bathroom
This is one of the worst possible mistakes you can make, and we are all probably guilty of it. Where do you keep your toothbrush? Most people would answer, by the sink or under the sink or somewhere else in the bathroom, right? Leaving your toothbrush anywhere in the bathroom increases the likelihood that it will have human feces on it. When you flush the toilet, contents of the toilet bowl spray all over – including, you got it, on your toothbrush if its anywhere near your toilet. If you must keep your toothbrush in the bathroom, use a lid and be sure to shut the lid on the toilet before flushing. The last thing we need is more bacteria in our mouth – especially fecal bacteria!
Not replacing your toothbrush frequently enough
The average lifespan of a toothbrush used consistently for twice a day is three months. After about 200 uses, it is important to switch out your brush because the bristles begin to become worn out and frayed. Once bristles are broken they don’t do much good cleaning our teeth. In addition, after a couple of months, pieces of food begin to build up on the toothbrush as well which can contribute to issues in your mouth.
Not brushing long enough
The average person only brushes their teeth for about 45 seconds. Anything short of two minutes leaves parts of the mouth and teeth unclean. Try listening to your favorite 2-minute song each time you brush or invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer to help you reach the 2-minute brushing goal.
Not cleaning your tongue
Neglecting your tongue every time that you brush can leave dangerous bacteria in your mouth. Simply moving the bristles on your brush in a back and forth motion works well to remove the bacteria that build up on the tongue. You can also opt for a tongue scraper to get the job done, but be sure not to neglect this very important part of your oral hygiene routine.
Using a hard bristle brush
Bristles that are too hard can cause damage to your gums. Go for a soft bristle brush that will do all that is needed to keep your mouth clean. When the bristles are too hard, they can do damage to the protective enamel on your teeth leaving you sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
Improper brushing technique
Most of us know how to brush correctly but often get in a hurry and do it all wrong. The correct way to brush your teeth is in circles not back and forth. Circular motions are gentle and more effective at cleaning the gaps between teeth than back and forth strokes. The brush should make contact with both the gums and the teeth. Tip your brush vertically behind your front and bottom teeth and brush gently using rolling strokes. Don’t ever brush so hard that you bend the bristles on your teeth.
Not changing up your brushing routine
Like many hygiene activities, brushing our teeth is something we do without much thought. By habit, we often brush in the same areas and forget others because of this. To make sure that you get all of your teeth, switch to a different pattern each time you brush. This will keep you from getting lazy.