General Family Dentist | Milwaukie, Oak Grove, Gladstone, Happy Valley and Portland, OR

Kevin H. Speer, D.D.S.
2250 SE Oak Grove Blvd.
Milwaukie, OR 97267
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The Most Common Toothbrushing Mistakes

The Most Common Toothbrushing Mistakes

Did you know that by the age of 25, you have brushed your teeth around 18,000 times? By brushing your teeth so many times, it’s safe to say that you’re an expert. However, many dentists find that their patients actually make little mistakes without realizing it when they brush their teeth. Although these mistakes are little, they can have a negative impact on your oral health over time. Therefore, it is best to be aware of these mistakes so you can make changes and improve the way you brush your teeth: 

Toothbrush Mistakes

There are a few mistakes that you may be making with your toothbrush. First off, you need to be sure that you are using the correct toothbrush. The correct toothbrush will have a handle long enough to easily reach the back of your mouth, as well as soft bristles. Be sure to avoid toothbrushes with hard bristles because they can damage your teeth. An easy way to find a good toothbrush is to look for the American Dental Association seal of approval. 

Once you have found an ADA-approved toothbrush that works for you, another mistake you may be making is using it for too long. In most cases, you will need to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months when the bristles begin to look bent, flayed, or faded. If your toothbrush is wearing out sooner than 3 months, it can be a sign that you are pressing too hard when you brush. You will also want to replace your toothbrush after you have been since to avoid spreading bacteria. 

diagram on how to brush your teeth

Technique Mistakes

Your brushing technique is another important aspect of your brushing routine. Many people make mistakes with their technique because they assume they need to scrub their teeth with a back and forth motion. However, not only does this not make your teeth any cleaner, but scrubbing your teeth can cause dental erosion and gum recession. The ideal brushing technique is to start along the gums and work up and down your teeth is circular motions. Think of it as a massage for your teeth, rather than a cleaning. Since dental plaque is extremely soft, gently massaging the surface of your teeth is enough to remove it. 

Rinsing with Water

Another highly common mistake people make after brushing their teeth is to rinse their mouth with water. While this may seem like the logical thing to do after brushing your teeth, it is actually not recommended by most dentists. This is because a toothpaste contains fluoride and it should remain on the teeth for as long as possible. Fluoride naturally strengthens enamel and makes it less likely to become decayed. 

Brushing your Teeth After a Meal

While it can be beneficial to brush your teeth after having a meal to remove food debri and excess plaque, you will not want to brush immediately after. This is because your mouth becomes acidic after eating, and brushing your teeth can lead to dental erosion. Instead, it is suggested to wait about 15-20 minutes after a meal. 

Dr. Speer prides himself on excellence in all aspects of dentistry. He stays up to date on the latest technologies by attending various continuing education courses throughout the year. He also enjoys volunteering his time and expertise at events, such as Portland Mission of Mercy. He is a member of the Clackamas County Dental Society, Oregon Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. He is also the former President of the Oregon Chapter of Delta Sigma Delta, an international Dental Fraternity. 

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