Are You Brushing Your Teeth Properly? 5 Common Mistakes Adults Make

picture of a woman smilingBest Ways to Brush Teeth: 5 Common Mistakes Adults Make

Even though we’ve been brushing our whole lives, there are still common errors adults make when brushing teeth. We’re sharing the best ways to brush teeth here.

You’re diligent about brushing your teeth every day.

But, is that enough?

Brushing your teeth is like second nature, but it’s easy to forget that it’s more than just brushing.

Consider these stats:

  • 25% of adults don’t brush their teeth twice per day.
  • Just 42% of adults use toothpaste to brush their teeth.
  • 25% of people in the US don’t floss daily.
  • 20% of the US doesn’t floss at all.
  • Just 31% of adults use mouthwash.

Sound familiar?

You’re not alone. Brushing errors are common, but left unremedied, they lead to this:

  • Plaque build-up
  • Quicker tooth decay
  • Gum Disease
  • Frequent bad breath
  • Damaged tooth enamel

Forget that. Let’s stay on the safe side, and fix those common mistakes now before it’s worse down the road.

To start, here are five common brushing errors adults are making right now. Let’s talk about the best ways to brush teeth:

Not Brushing Twice a Day

It’s true: 1 in 4 U.S. adults don’t brush their teeth nearly enough.

But the 18-24 age bracket is even worse, claiming 37% go up to two days without brushing their teeth.

If you find yourself skipping a day or two, you miss out this:

  • A 22% improvement in overall oral health
  • Improved immune system.
  • Less risk for dementia: one study found that participants who didn’t brush their teeth regularly were more at risk of dementia by 22% to 65%.

Now that should put all those times you went to bed without brushing your teeth into perspective.

It’s a simple mistake, but a costly one down the stretch.

To stay on track, set an alert on your phone to remind you to brush before bed. This should help you pick up that twice-a-day habit in no time.

Brushing, But not Flossing

Imagine this all-too-common scenario: you sleep through your alarm, have a 9:00am meeting, and have just 10 minutes to get ready, brush your teeth, and head out the door. Who has time to floss?

More than a quarter of adults don’t brush their teeth twice a day. Even more let flossing fall by the wayside.

American Dental Association studies show:

So, why the aversion to flossing?

The American Dental Association recognizes that daily flossing, like brushing, should take only two minutes.

But the more flossing you miss, the more work it becomes. Soon, it becomes a more painful, messy experience as weeks turn into months.

So painful in fact, that more than a third of adults would rather do their least favorite chores than floss.

This means, adults who avoid flossing are at risk for:

  • Gingivitis developing into periodontitis, a gum disease that forms pockets around the teeth, causing food particles to collect and trigger inflammation.
  • Bad breath or halitosis: The Mayo Clinic cites poor oral hygiene as one of the primary causes of halitosis.
  • Cavities: If you don’t clean between your teeth, tooth decay will damage your inner and outer tooth layer, or dentin, resulting in a cavity.

Not Brushing the Right Way

When you’re in a rush, the last thing on your mind is how you brush your teeth.

But not brushing the right way can lead to surprise dental issues. Let’s make the most out of your two minutes and explore the right way to brush your teeth:

  • Be gentle: Take it easy. You don’t have to brush your teeth aggressively. This could damage your enamel and gum line. Remember to use soft, circular motions and not bend toothbrush bristles against the enamel.
  • Change up your starting point: This may surprise you. Richard Price of the ADA actually recommends switching up the location of where you start your brushing. Psychologically, this prevents boredom and helps ensure that each tooth is given proper attention!
  • Molars and inner teeth: It’s easy to brush your front teeth really well, but even easier to forget molars and hard-to-reach teeth.

Not Taking Care of Your Toothbrush

Ask yourself: when was the last time you changed your toothbrush?

With so much talk of how to brush and when to brush, the importance of your actual toothbrush itself can become an afterthought.

Believe it or not, if your toothbrush looks past its expiration date, it can also detriment your oral hygiene as well.

Let’s discuss five important points you need to know:

  • Toothbrush size: toothbrushes are not one size fits all. If your toothbrush is too large or small, you’ll miss those important molars and inner teeth.
  • Always clean your toothbrush: after brushing, thoroughly rinse your toothbrush out and store it in a cup or container. Allowing food particles to linger will cause bacteria to grow on your toothbrush.
  • Replace your toothbrush: remember to buy a new toothbrush at least every four months. Old toothbrushes are like Petri dishes for bacteria.

Not Including Enough Flouride

More than 4 out of 10 adults are not using toothpaste to brush their teeth, and a third don’t use mouthwash either.

But, why is fluoride so important?

First and foremost, fluoride removes plaque. Toothpaste is simply a paste that makes scrubbing your teeth easier, but it’s fluoride that removes build-up and prevents decay.

A daily dose of fluoride benefits your smile in the following ways:

  • It’s a natural mineral that protects teeth surfaces from agents that cause tooth decay, like acids from food.
  • Strengthens already weakened enamel.
  • Fluoride toothpaste is credited for a drastic drop in cavities since the 1960s.
  • It prevents receding gums caused by gum disease.

When buying your toothpaste and mouthwash, make sure they have the ADA seal of approval. This way, you know you’re getting the recommended intake of fluoride!

Ready to start taking care of your teeth the right way?

Improved daily brushing means improved bi-annual check-ups.

Make an appointment today to get started on your new track toward spectacular oral hygiene.