Common Dental Hygiene Mistakes


It’s important to go to the dentist regularly, but the actual hard work to keep your mouth healthy is done at home. However, common dental hygiene mistakes can undermine those efforts, cost you money, and rob you of your pearly white smile.

When your dentist tells you how to take care of your teeth at home, do those words go in one ear and out the other? Listen up! Practicing good dental hygiene prevents cavities, gum disease, and enamel issues. If you’re making any of the following common dental hygiene mistakes, pay more attention to your habits. You’ll have whiter teeth and fewer dental bills as a result.

1. Using An Old Toothbrush

The image of an old toothbrush is icky, right? If so, don’t put one in your mouth. Old toothbrushes harbour bacteria, thus putting germs into your mouth instead of taking them out. An old toothbrush is also harsh on your gums and could cause gum recession. You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months. The one a year you get from your dentist isn’t enough!

2. Brushing Too Hard

When you brush your teeth, the goal is to dislodge food particles and plaque. Brush too softly and you won’t achieve that goal. If you brush too hard, however, you’ll do damage to your teeth. Brushing your teeth too vigorously can lead to abrasion of your enamel. There’s no replacing your tooth enamel, so don’t rub it off by brushing too hard.

3. Ignoring Tongue And Gums

Don’t take “brushing your teeth” too literally! There are other structures in your mouth that require cleaning. Your tongue can carry a lot of bacteria and should be gently brushed once daily. Likewise, your gums should be brushed regularly. Brushing your gums removes bacteria and helps lessen inflammation, a precursor to periodontal disease.

4. Brushing After Meals

After you eat, there are enzymes and acids in your mouth that soften tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth when they are in this sensitive state can do damage. Think about toothbrush abrasion, such as when you brush your teeth too hard. Wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth. If you still want that clean mouth feeling, you can swish your mouth out with some water.

5. Not Hydrating Enough

Water does a body good, from head to toe. Drinking water regularly helps keep the pH balance of the mouth at a good level, and also helps to wash away latent bacteria. Bacteria thrive in a dry, sticky mouth. If you have bad breath, drink a bottle of water instead of popping a mint.

6. You Brush In A Rush

Dentists advise two to three minutes of brushing at a time. A quick tour around your mouth with a toothbrush won’t cut it. You need to spend at least 30 seconds per quadrant, using small circular motions away from the gumline. If you rush through the process, you won’t be cleaning your mouth effectively.

7. No Flossing

When did flossing become public enemy number one? It’s one of the most powerful steps you can take to avoid gum disease and keep your mouth in great shape into old age. Yet most people rarely floss their teeth or they floss only before their dental appointment (hint: your dentist can tell if the only time you flossed in the past year was the night before). If you don’t like using string floss, you can purchase flossing sticks to make the job easier.

8. Skipping Mouthwash

Mouthwash is an integral part of at-home dental hygiene. When you use mouthwash, don’t just swill it around a couple of times and spit. Keep it in your mouth for 45 seconds to a minute for full disinfecting benefits.

9. Neglecting Dental Checkups

You should be going in for dental checkups once to twice a year so that a dentist can deep clean your teeth and look out for any advanced health issues. Many adults don’t go to the dentist often enough, leaving themselves in the dark as to the condition of their oral health. Your dental health is a joint effort with your dentist. It’s important to have a professional look at your mouth and jaw to determine if everything is as it should be. Seeing a dentist regularly also drives accountability to maintain good dental hygiene practices at home.

10. You Always Start Brushing In The Same Place

You may have never thought about where you brush before, but experts have found starting your tooth brushing pattern in the same place can lead to that place receiving more attention and thus more wear. Try switching up your brushing habits to ensure all corners of the mouth receive the same deep clean.

The power is in your hands to maintain good dental hygiene habits at home! The better you keep up your teeth, the whiter and healthier your smile will be. A healthy smile is a beautiful thing and can give you more confidence when smiling and socializing. You can honour your healthy, strong teeth by brushing and flossing correctly and keeping up a regular schedule with your dentist. By following our tips above, you’ll be your dentist’s star patient in no time!

Dawson Dental offers premiere dental clinics in Toronto and throughout the GTA. For more information, call us at 1-855-406-2742 or book an appointment here.