I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
Dentists recommend that everybody should brush their teeth at least twice a day to avoid cavities and gum disease, but many people make brushing mistakes that can damage the teeth. Ironically, if you are guilty of any of the five following brushing sins, you're probably doing more harm than good. Find the path to dental salvation, and learn more about these five brushing mistakes.
Using a Toothbrush With Hard Bristles
The average supermarket sells dozens of types of toothbrush, and it's often difficult to know which product is best for your teeth. Some people simply stick to what they have always known, but a manual toothbrush with hard bristles can cause serious dental damage.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Periodontology found that hard bristles were effective at removing plaque, but the brushing could cause soft tissue damage around the teeth compared to brushes with softer bristles. With the right technique, softer brushes can still effectively tackle plaque, without damaging the surrounding tissues.
Brushing Straight After an Acidic Drink
It's easy to fall into bad habits when they form part of your daily routine. For example, many people enjoy a glass of orange juice for breakfast, after which they may then routinely brush their teeth. However, this habit could be harmful for your tooth enamel.
In fact, you should never brush your teeth immediately after an acidic drink like orange juice. The acidity can soften the tooth enamel, which may then erode if you start brushing. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you leave at least thirty minutes between an acidic drink and brushing your teeth.
Storing a Wet Toothbrush in Your Luggage
The last thing many people do before they check out of a hotel room is clean their teeth. Unfortunately, if you do this, you'll have to pack a damp toothbrush in your luggage, which could create a breeding ground for bacteria. A contaminated toothbrush could carry germs like influenza, E. coli and strep, all of which could make you ill.
Rinse your brush in clean water when you finish brushing, and allow time for it to dry out before you pack it. If this isn't possible, consider using a disposable brush that you get rid of when you check out, and leave your normal brush at home.
Excessive Brush Cleaning Regimes
While a dirty toothbrush can harbor germs, excessive brush cleaning could actually damage this vital tool. For example, some people go as far as to placing the brush in the dishwasher or microwave, but even just soaking the brush in antiseptic mouthwash all day is a bad habit.
Excessive cleaning habits may damage the bristles on your brush, which means you won't see the full benefits of regular brushing. A gentle rinse in clean water is enough to clean the brush, and you then just need to allow time for it to air dry naturally.
Not Brushing for Long Enough
Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time. Some dentists even suggest that you break the session into four parts and spend 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth. If your brushing session is shorter, you won't adequately prevent problems like tartar and gum disease.
If you struggle to keep up this habit, consider using technology to help. For example, you could use your smartphone as a timer, or download an app that plays your favorite song for at least two minutes, so you can focus on your brushing technique.
A regular brushing regime is vital for healthy teeth, but bad habits can cause more problems than they solve. Talk to a local dentist, such as Art of Dentistry Institute, for more advice and information.