8 Common Mistakes you make when Brushing your Teeth


TOOTHBRUSH: You tend to brush in all sorts of ways, and our gum tissue is fragile. Be sure to pick up a toothbrush with SOFT or EXTRA SOFT BRISTLES only – this way you won’t damage your gums. If you’re having trouble keeping your mouth open while brushing, then look for a toothbrush with a smaller head on it. If your arm hurts after brushing, or you have manual dexterity issues or you’re just lazy, then get an electric or ultrasonic brush that’ll do most of the work for you.

METHOD: You want squeaky clean teeth, so you think brushing harder is better. WRONG! You should hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, so you feel the bristles going in between the teeth and up underneath the gums. Then, brush in a compact circular motion and sweep away from the gum. Do this with gentle pressure on both the inner and outer surfaces of each individual tooth. Then you can brush the biting surfaces at the end. This method applies to both manual and electric toothbrushes.

TOOTHPASTE: So you think using a whitening toothpaste is going to make them sparkly white, right? WRONG! Whitening toothpastes have tons of abravises and are way too harsh for your gums, and can wear away enamel over the long term, so avoid using them. Instead, use a regular toothpaste with fluoride, or an herbal dentifrice, without any sodium lauryl sulfate, which is what causes the foaming action.

TIMING: You need to brush for at least TWO FULL MINUTES for the fluoride to be activated in your toothpaste. Plus it takes at least two minutes to really cover all of the surfaces of your teeth while brushing. First set your timer on your cell phone for 2:00 minutes. Then, divide your mouth into four quadrants – upper right, upper left, lower left and lower right – and work your way from quadrant to quadrant as you watch the timer. Spend at least 30 seconds brushing the teeth in each quadrant.

LONGEVITY: You think it’s ok to keep using your toothbrush forever and ever and ever. WRONG! Bristles get broken and splayed and they are totally ineffective. Be sure to get rid of your toothbrush every 3 months, and get a new one that’s strong enough to stand up to the task!

FREQUENCY: You think brushing more often is better. WRONG! Brushing more than 3 times a day can be damaging not only to your gums, but your enamel as well. Keep your brushing frequency to no more than 3 times a day to avoid undue damage to your smile while maintaining its health!

AREAS: You think it’s ok to just brush your teeth. WRONG! Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well every time you brush your teeth. Tons of bacteria lurk amongst your tastebuds so you can use a special tongue brush, or gently use your toothbrush to brush the top of your tongue as the final step before you rinse out.

FLOSS: You brush before you floss. WRONG! You must floss first, then brush your teeth. Why? Imagine if you vacuumed the floor, then dusted and all the dust fell on the floor and you’d have to vacuum the floor again. That is exactly what you are doing when it comes to your mouth if you brush before flossing. The toothpaste is not effective if you haven’t flossed first to remove the funk that’s sitting in between your teeth and just underneath your gums on the surface of your roots. So FLOSS and then BRUSH your teeth!

Hope this has helped you with your daily oral hygiene routine. And remember, a healthy smile is always in style!


Dr. Meli