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World Oral Health Day: 7 dental mistakes you could be making and how to fix them

We’ve been taught it since day one: brushing your teeth twice a day will help keep the dentist away.

But it’s easy to overbrush, worry about stains, or make silly and potentially dangerous mistakes.

To brighten up your smile, experts share some of the common oral health mistakes you might be making – and how to fix them…

1. Not cleaning between teeth

(Alamy/AP)

“Brushing only cleans three out of five tooth surfaces,” says Anna Middleton, founder of London Hygienist (londonhygienist.com).

“However, interdental cleaning with dental floss or brushes helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can occur when food and plaque get lodged between teeth.”

If you have space between your teeth, Middleton advises opting for interdental brushes and always using the largest size possible – you may need more than one size.

“If your teeth are tight, flossing is recommended. Do it once a day, preferably at night and in front of the mirror. And if you hate flossing, why not try a water flosser?

2. Brush your teeth only and not your gums

“A lot of us forget to brush our gums when we brush our teeth,” says Middleton – but it’s crucial, “because that’s where plaque is going to sit.”

His pro advice? “When using an electric toothbrush, place the bristles against the teeth at a 45 degree angle towards the gum line. Gently hold the handle with a light grip and apply only light pressure. Gently glide the brush on your teeth and gums, allowing your brush to do most of the work.

3. Not brushing long enough

“Brushing our teeth is one of the most important tasks we do every day, but some of us don’t spend enough time on it,” says dental manager Dr. private healthcare My Healthcare Clinic (myhealthcareclinic.com).

“Rushing through work means you risk missing superficial areas, like between your teeth or along the gum line, leading to plaque and bacteria buildup and risking long-term problems like cavities and gum disease. gum disease.”

It’s an easy fix, as Sioutis says: “Brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, making sure you don’t miss the hardest to reach places, should ensure you get rid of all the plaque and germs that may otherwise grow.” at the top.”

“Finding the right pressure to apply when brushing your teeth can be difficult, and brushing your teeth too hard is a common mistake that can have negative consequences,” says Dr. Honar Shakir of the private dental practice Banning Dental Group ( banningdental.co. UK).

“Overly aggressive brushing can slowly erode our tooth enamel and lead to gum recession, potentially exposing nerves and roots.”

If you feel your teeth becoming more sensitive or your gums starting to recede, Shakir says it could be a sign that you need to apply less pressure. To fix this, he recommends holding the toothbrush with just three fingers or switching to a brush with softer bristles.

5. Not replacing your toothbrush

(Alamy/AP)

As Shakir points out, “Your toothbrush bristles spread and become less effective over time, which means they can’t get to the harder-to-reach places, like between your teeth.

“Germs can also become a problem when a toothbrush has been used for too long.”

Experts recommend changing your toothbrush or brush head at least every 12-16 weeks.

6. Brushing your teeth at the wrong time

Dr. Azad Eyrumlu of Banning Dental Group says that when you brush your teeth is crucial.

“For example, brushing your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods like coffee or orange juice can be harmful to enamel because you’re effectively brushing the acid off your teeth,” he explains. “Your mouth needs time to produce saliva in order to neutralize the acid and be able to brush your teeth safely again.”

Eyrumlu says, “Try to wait at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth.”

7. Using the wrong type of electric toothbrush

There are many types of electric toothbrushes, but Middleton says the best are “rotating/oscillating heads and sonic vibrating heads.”

She continues, “The rotating/oscillating heads are small and round, rotating back and forth one tooth at a time to sweep away plaque. Often those heads are throbbing too.

“The sonic heads vibrate at certain high speeds and frequencies to break down plaque, as well as agitate toothpaste and liquid in the mouth to clean between teeth and along the gumline.”

She says both of these types will remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush and suggests avoiding battery-powered toothbrushes. “They are not effective and tend to ‘erase’ with residue, which can damage the gums,” she adds.

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