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It’s been ingrained in our mind since we’re old enough to wield a toothbrush: spend two minutes brushing your teeth three times a day. We still might even hum a familiar tune every time we step in front of the sink or go through the exact same “up and down, round and round” motions we did at age five.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 80 percent of people develop at least one cavity by age 34, so something’s not quite adding up. While genetics plays a factor in your likelihood to experience tooth decay, it’s not the only variable. To uncover some of the most common oral hygiene mistakes that may be contributing to the problem, we asked dentists to weigh in.
Problem #1: Brushing your teeth too hard
There’s a misconception that says the harder we scrub, the better we clean. This is false.
Aggressive scrubbing over time can cause enamel abrasion and gum recession, ultimately leading to sensitivity issues and tooth structure loss. Ideally, you should use a soft-headed toothbrush, or an American Dental Association (ADA)-approved electric brush, which comes standard with soft heads.
Signs that you’re scrubbing too hard include a frazzled brush head in as little as one to two months, increased sensitivity, and a receding gum line. If you can’t break the habit, we recommend using an electric brush with a pressure indicator.
Problem #2: Not spending enough time brushing
Even if you’ve committed to brushing your teeth throughout the day, the effort is for naught if you aren’t allocating enough time to the task. If you don’t spend adequate time brushing your teeth, it is likely that the tartar and biofilms will not have a proper removal from the tooth surface, leading to plaque deposits, gum inflammation, bad breath and even cavities.
Also, brushing in a hurry often translates to missing teeth in the back, which is where many cavities form. You can set a timer on your phone for two minutes.
Problem #3: Buying whatever toothpaste is on sale
All toothpaste is not created equal. The better deal might not serve you well.
It is important to look for the American Dental Association (ADA) stamp on products because the ADA ensures that proper testing has been done on a given toothpaste and that it contains the minimum amount of therapeutic ingredients to maintain a healthy, cavity-free mouth.
Ask your dentists for their opinion of the best toothpaste to suite your individual needs.
For example, if you have cavity issues it is important to use a toothpaste with fluoride and if gingivitis is an issue, there are a slew of toothpastes that can help with minimizing inflammation.
Problem #4: Using non-ADA approved whitening products
Similarly, not all whitening products are created equal. Especially for teeth whitening products, we recommend to only use products that have earned ADA stamps, which indicates the product’s been rigorously tested for formulation and efficacy.
The other products on the market may be a dice roll and cause issues such as sensitivity and damage, or not work at all. When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider so they can educate you on the various over-the-counter products on the market.
Problem #5: Only using floss picks
While using floss picks is better than not flossing at all, they’re not as effective as traditional string floss or water flossers.
Most people don’t even use the picks to their fullest potential and instead ‘pop’ them through the contacts and move on to the next space. In addition to not being thorough enough, this can also spread bacteria from one location to another. It’s the up and down cleaning motion of each root surface that is recommended.
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family.
Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!