Have you ever been surprised or disappointed at a dental appointment, to find that despite your good dental habits, you still are experiencing issues with cavities, gum disease, or worse? You are brushing and flossing every day, eating a healthy diet, and making and keeping regular dental visits – so what gives?
Perhaps your dental routine has fallen victim to one or more common mistakes:
Not Replacing Your Toothbrush Regularly
Did you know that your toothbrush bristles become less effective after just a few months of use? They can become a bit frayed, and won’t get into the crevices between teeth as easily. In addition, the longer you use your toothbrush, the more bacteria it could be harboring. The American Dental Association recommends that you change them at least every three to four months, but pay close attention to the bristles: if it begins to look frayed sooner than that, you should go ahead and replace it early. But also note that it could be an indication that you’re brushing too hard, or for too long. Which brings us to the next mistake:
Brushing Too Hard, Too Often, or Too Long
You could be working so hard at keeping your mouth healthy that you’re actually overdoing it just a bit. If you are brushing too hard, or for too long during a session, you could damage the sensitive tissue surrounding your teeth. A toothbrush is firm and rough, so don’t overdo it with the pressure. And two minutes is plenty of time to do a thorough cleaning of the teeth surfaces and gums. Anything over that can create irritation.
Grinding Your Teeth
Do you ever wake up in the morning with sore jaws, a stiff neck, or headaches? If so, you could have “bruxism”, which is grinding or clenching of the teeth. Bruxism, that sometimes happens only when you sleep, can damage your teeth and gums over time. Bruxism is normally caused by stress, although some medications and medical conditions can also contribute to it. The daily grinding can eventually wear down your enamel, damage crowns or veneers, and cause headaches, jaw pain, and tooth sensitivity. If you have problems with bruxism, or suspect nighttime grinding, schedule a visit with us right away to discuss treatment options before damage occurs.
Brushing After Eating Acidic Foods and Drinks
If you rush to brush your teeth after drinking a soda or eating an orange, you may think you’re doing your teeth a favor. After all, you want to get the harmful acids and carbonation off of your teeth as soon as possible, right? Yes, you do, but brushing is NOT the way to go about it. You should wait at least 30 minutes after consuming anything acidic, because the acids in these foods will temporarily weaken your teeth, and put the enamel at risk of being damaged. Instead, swish some water in your mouth, and then wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before brushing.
Neglecting Sensitive or Bleeding Gums When You Brush
Of course you don’t want to make further irritate your sensitive gums, but if they are sensitive and bleeding, they need extra attention, not less. Even though it may be uncomfortable, leaving plaque on the sensitive areas will only make it worse. Instead, brush and floss gently in these areas, and schedule a visit with us as soon as possible. Not only can we give the areas a thorough and gentle cleaning, we can also work with you to help restore your gums to good health.
Whatever your dental needs are, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a visit!