It May Be Hard to Hear, But You’re Brushing Your Teeth Wrong
As a human race, by now we should all be used to new or disruptive information which changes the way we look at life. As “expert” information floods in via the internet, television and our cousin’s know-it-all husband at the family barbeque, we must filter out sensationalism and opinion from the facts. And this is no less true for the information we have on brushing our teeth, some of which is just plain wrong.
You’re probably more than a little confused, after all, brushing your teeth is much like riding a bike. Once you’ve got the hang of it then you just, well, go through the motions. It’s not rocket science.
Not that we want to upset the proverbial apple cart, but there’s a very good chance that you’re brushing your teeth wrong.
Shall we take a closer look?
Proper Brushing Technique
We all remember our training from primary school where we were taught to brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and make sure we get to all the surfaces of our teeth. Sounds simple enough.
We were probably also shown how we need to hold our toothbrushes at a 45-degree angle to the gums to ensure that we get to that tricky part of our teeth just beneath the gum where all the gunk collects.
If we haven’t experienced it first-hand then we’re also likely to have been told that electric toothbrushes are far more effective than conventional ones.
Yes, we know all this. Nothing new here.
Here’s what you’re doing wrong.
Brushing Teeth, The Wrong Way?
Do you floss? That’s great!
Do you brush your teeth and then floss? Hmm, let’s talk about that.
While there can never be a definitive answer to these puzzles, the basic premise is that flossing before brushing disrupts the food particles and the plaque between the teeth, which makes your subsequent brush far more effective.
The active ingredient in your toothpaste then has direct contact with your teeth instead of trying to affect a sticky film of plaque in and around your smile bones.
A post-brush floss will certainly be of benefit to your overall oral hygiene, but the logic for the pre-flossing argument is sound.
Rinse and Repeat?
Do you, like over two-thirds of adults, rinse your mouth out after you’ve brushed?
That’s exactly what most of us have been doing for most of our lives. However, rinsing the excess toothpaste after a good old brush does one thing only – it dilutes the active ingredient in your toothpaste.
We recommend spitting out the excess toothpaste only, as opposed to a good old rinse with water. The freshness of the toothpaste will linger in your mouth, and the fluoride can carry on working for hours afterwards.
What about mouthwash – should we rinse that out too?
Unless you are especially advised to by your dentist, using mouthwash before brushing is just a waste of product. Using mouthwash after brushing has much the same effect as simply not rinsing the residual toothpaste out. And, rinsing the mouthwash out with water just prevents the mouthwash from acting on your teeth at all.
Mouthwash is a wonderful in-betweener after a particularly garlicky lunch when no toothbrush is available, but for the best results, don’t rinse your mouth with water after using mouthwash.
Brushing Advice From The Pros
If you’re left a little bewildered by having your long-held beliefs overturned, don’t despair.
Sticking to the basics of brushing twice a day, flossing once, and rinsing in between will go a long way towards keeping your smile in tip-top shape.
However, if you are suffering from bleeding gums, bad breath, loose teeth or receding gums, then you may be brushing your teeth wrong…or have a more serious problem which needs exploring. A regular check-up and professional cleaning will help to stop major problems before they start.
While you’re in our chair, we’d love to share with you some practical tips on the dos and don’ts of brushing your teeth, to make sure that you keep your teeth for life.