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Mistakes you’re making when brushing your teeth

DISCLOSURE: Noelle Copeland RDH is the oral care specialist and dental consultant to the Brilliant and Baby Buddy oral care lines through Compac Industries. See terms below. 

Three mistakes people make when brushing their teeth.

Here are 3 discussions I have with patients when reviewing brushing routines.

Mistake #1 Not brushing “at least” twice a day

Most people don’t forget to brush their teeth in the morning before heading out for the day. However, with our ever-increasing schedule of demands, it’s become more common for some people to collapse into the bed, at the end of the day, while either completely forgoing or barely doing an evening brush routine. If this has become something you are doing more than once a week then you need to tweak your routine. The easiest fix is switching to brushing your teeth after your final meal versus waiting until right before you go to bed. 

I will often brush my teeth with my kids. This helps them do a better job brushing, since mom is right there being a good example, and it prevents me from skipping it later when I’m totally expired and highly capable of compromising my oral hygiene by doing a quick “brush and swish” and calling it a night.

Mistake #2 Brushing too hard, ”Scrubbers”

Some people are just heavy-handed brushers. They do a great job scrubbing away the plaque on their teeth, along with scrubbing away their tooth enamel and gum tissue, unknowingly. This is extremely amplified if also using a powered electric toothbrush. If you have gum recession, most periodontists DO NOT recommend using an electric toothbrush. The best toothbrush for sensitive and delicate gums is a soft manual toothbrush.

  • If your toothbrush bristles are bent out to the side… may be a scrubber. 
  • If you have gum recession or tooth abrasion….you may be a scrubber.

Be sure to talk with your dental professional to get a proper diagnosis and a demonstration on how to use modified methods for brushing with a soft manual toothbrush.

Mistake #3 Using too much toothpaste

I know you see the commercials with an inch-long, swirly slab of toothpaste on toothbrush bristles and think “Oh, that’s how I’m supposed to do it”…and that’s exactly what the toothpaste companies want you to think, but you don’t need that much toothpaste! In fact, using that much toothpaste is working against you. 

Most people prefer a mint-flavored toothpaste, and mint has a slight numbing effect in the mouth. When you’re brushing with too much paste, the bubbly, foamy, sudsy, minty, numbing, distraction of toothpaste, causes you to lose some of your ability to “feel”, how well you’re removing the plaque on your teeth. This also causes people to associate “effective” brushing with how their mouth tastes versus how their mouth feels. 

So go small with pastes and gels. Children only need a sliver sized strip, the equivalent of a grain of rice, up to, a pea-sized amount, of toothpaste or gel. Adults only need a pea-sized amount or slightly more, depending on the size of the mouth and teeth.

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7/30/2020….This article is intended to provide an understanding of and knowledge about “oral health topics” as expressed through the perspective and experience of the author. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or counsel, including the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, an oral condition, illness, or treatment of any listed or non-listed situation above.​​By using this site, you signify your assent to our Terms and Conditions. If you do not agree to all of these Terms and Conditions, do not use this site.

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