Sometimes it’s not just about what you should be doing, but what you shouldn’t be doing, too.
Your oral health is in your hands. While it’s important to regularly visit a dentist, like Dr. Alan Katende of Knights Family Dentistry in Harker Heights, Texas, your day-to-day habits can have a profound effect on the condition of your teeth and gums.
We all know that brushing and flossing are important, but dental health is not just about what you should be doing, but also what you shouldn’t be doing. Here are some common mistakes many of us make every day, and how to avoid them.
1. Being in a Hurry
When you brush your teeth, always take your time. Focus on brushing slowly and lightly for a full two minutes, twice each day. Avoid a back and forth motion that can damage your gums and teeth, and consider investing in an electric toothbrush. It does the work for you and ensures that you are brushing long enough, thanks to a built-in timer.
2. Forgetting to Floss
You should be flossing your teeth at least once every day (not just right before you visit the dentist). And instead of just flossing between each tooth, you should also be curving the floss around each tooth and going to the gum line on each one to help remove all the plaque that has built up between brushings.
3. Using the Wrong Toothbrush
Toothbrushes are not all created equal, and you should avoid ones with hard bristles, since even the healthiest gum tissue tends to shrink away (recede) with age. Hard toothbrushes tend to push back the cementum covering the root surface of the teeth, which is not resistant to decay. Instead, brush gently with a soft toothbrush, and never skip flossing.
Snacking (a Lot)
Frequent snacking can increase your risk for cavities, particularly if your favorite snacks contain sugar. While an occasional sweet treat is fine, prolonged and repeated exposure to sugar and carbohydrates will encourage the growth of cavities. You should try to eat early in the evening, and have your last snack at least two hours before you head to bed.
5. Brushing Too Hard
Gentle pressure is all you really need to remove bacterial plaque from your teeth; anything more can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gum tissue. Brushing too hard is not only one of the most common dental hygiene mistakes, but it also can make your teeth more vulnerable to staining, since aggressive brushing can expose the layer of dentin directly underneath the enamel.
6. Brushing at the Wrong Times
Brushing immediately after you eat can actually weaken your tooth enamel, particularly when you’ve eaten something acidic. But if you wait just 30 minutes, your saliva will have cleared away most of the harmful bacteria and allowed your enamel to return to its protective state. Your mouth also produces less saliva at night, so it’s important to brush your teeth right before you go to bed, since brushing too early could allow bacteria to build up in your mouth, potentially damaging your teeth while you sleep.
7. Skipping Your Tongue
Brushing your tongue is just as important as brushing your teeth, since neglecting your tongue will allow bacteria to build up, which can lead to bad breath. Getting into the habit of brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth or using a tongue scraper will help your mouth feel cleaner and fresher.
When it comes to your own dental hygiene (or lack thereof), you could be your own worst enemy. To find out how to take care of your teeth and take advantage of our special offers for new patients, contact Knights Family Dentistry on our website or by calling (254) 863-8003.