Since we were just wee little kids, we've been brushing our teeth all on our own. And while we've probably become much more diligent about it than we were as toddlers, there are some things that could have fallen through the cracks. Perhaps our dentist's advice or gentle warnings weren't enough to stick in our stubborn brains, or perhaps there's just some stuff no one ever told us to begin with! Here are 10 ways you might be doing it wrong.
1. The bristles of your toothbrush just aren't soft enough.
When your bristles are too hard, they can weaken tooth enamel. The head of the brush should be small enough to reach every tooth. Look for a brush that says "Soft" on the packaging.
2. You're not brushing for long enough.
The ADA suggest at least two minutes of brushing, while dentists say four, so either get a powered toothbrush with a timer or watch the clock.
3. You're not brushing before bed.
After a long day, it's hard to let anything get in the way of your shut-eye, but if you don't brush before you snooze, you're allowing about seven or eight hours to go by with all that bacteria building up in your mouth, bothering your gums, causing tooth decay and allowing plaque to harden, resulting in tartar.
4. You're not brushing your tongue.
When you don't brush your tongue, you allow all the microbes and food debris to leave you with bad breathe. The ADA says that brushing your tongue can alleviate the stinky stench by up to 70 percent. Now, get all that gunk off!
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5. You're not flossing.
While flossing is that extra step no one wants to partake in, doing so rids the teeth of those hidden food particles that can cause tooth decay from all the bacteria lurking about.
6. You're not switching out your toothbrush enough.
You know your toothbrush is too old if the bristles are frayed and worn, or even cracked or broken. Get a new brush every three to four months to avoid damaging your teeth and causing bacteria to stick around.
7. You're constantly disinfecting your toothbrush.
Doing so just makes it age faster. Simply rinse well and store upright to allow it to air-dry.
8. You're using a covered holder on your toothbrush.
Unless you're traveling, storing it in a moist, closed container just makes way for microbial growth.
9. Every time you get sick, you get a new toothbrush.
The germs on your brush are the same ones already in your body, so don't waste your pretty pennies.
10. You're using your significant other's brush.
While it may seem cute and comfortable, your body isn't prepared to fight off someone else's germs, so unless you want to up your chances of getting an infection, stick to your own brush.
Are you guilty of any of these?