Common mistakes made when brushing your teeth
Keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean with our guide to avoiding common errors when brushing
Brushing your teeth correctly is far more important than just avoiding tooth loss and decay. Healthy teeth and gums don’t just reduce pain and sensitivity in your mouth but can also lower the risk of wider conditions and complications such as heart disease, stroke, dementia, premature birthing and even diabetes, according to scientific research.
We have broken down the common mistakes that people make when brushing their teeth and given ways to avoid making these simple errors.
- Stop rinsing straight after brushing – After brushing, you should spit out as much of the excess toothpaste left in the mouth as you can. However, don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing, as the concentrated levels of fluoride left in the mouth will be diluted, reducing the preventative effects of protecting your teeth throughout the day.
- Do not swallow – when toothpaste is swallowed a spike in blood levels of fluoride occurs which can cause permanent damage to our teeth at high levels. Don’t panic, there is no reason to rush to hospital every time you or your child swallow toothpaste. Occasionally, it is not a problem, however, if you are swallowing after brushing twice every day it can cause damage.
- Don’t forget the inside – Make sure you brush all surfaces of all your teeth, even the hard to reach areas. This should cover the inside, outside and the chewing surfaces of your teeth and should take about 2 minutes.
- Use a mouthwash at a different time to brushing – Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride can be great for preventing decay and reaching those small gaps between teeth, however, it should not be used directly after brushing. The concentrated levels of fluoride left in the mouth will be diluted, reducing the preventative effects of protecting your teeth throughout the day. Choosing a different time to use a mouthwash will prevent this from happening, for instance after a meal.
- Don’t drink or eat too quickly – Avoid eating and drinking for up to 30 minutes after brushing your teeth to prevent the removal of the concentrated levels of fluoride left in the mouth. It will also help in avoiding spoiling your coffee with the minty flavour that is left behind!
- Floss before you brush, not after – Flossing isn’t just for dislodging food that is wedged between your teeth. Regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum lines. By flossing before you brush, you will remove the plaque between the teeth allowing the toothpaste more access to these areas.