Do you have any habits that are sabotaging your pearly whites? You are probably thinking of your soda indulgence or your nail biting habit. But what about habits that are a part of your dental hygiene routine? Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Steven A. Ghareeb, DDS, FAGD, warns of five bad habits that can ruin your smile.
Think about your dental care at home and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you floss?
- Sorry this one is unavoidable and likely a question you have been asked before by your dentist. However, a large percentage of us still do not realize the importance of flossing, as only 41% of Americans report that they floss on a daily basis. Flossing removes the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food debris that get stuck between your teeth. “Although bleeding and irritation sometimes can occur when you first start flossing, it’s important to keep at it,” says Dr. Ghareeb. “Your gums will toughen up and your oral health will be better for it.”
- Are you brushing at the wrong times?
- Yes, timing actually does matter when brushing your teeth. If you brush too soon after consuming acidic foods and beverages, your tooth enamel can be damaged. Brushing your teeth less than 30 minutes after eating and drinking acidic items can result in the acid getting brushed into your teeth instead of brushed away. Try drinking water afterwards to wash away the abrasive acids and wait half an hour before you pick up your toothbrush.
- How often are you replacing your toothbrush?
- Time can slip away easily when it comes to replacing your toothbrush. However, dentists recommend that you change out your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Not only are the bristles worn down and less effective, but your toothbrush could also be sheltering harmful bacteria. Consider a new toothbrush after you have been sick as well.
- Are you bleaching too much?
- We all want that bright white Hollywood smile? While tooth whitening procedures are generally safe for your teeth, if you use at-home bleaching products too much, your teeth and gums can become sensitive. Always run your teeth whitening plans by your dentist first.
- Do you brush too hard?
- You may think that the more aggressive the better when it comes to brushing your teeth. This is simply not the case. Plaque and bacteria can be effectively removed with gentle brushing. Use a circular motion instead of a harsh, side-to-side motion to protect your gums. In addition, choose a soft-bristled toothbrush to support a healthy brushing action. Remember, when it comes to brushing your teeth, focus on brushing for the full 2 minutes instead of using more force.
Your efforts to keep your mouth in check should be applauded, yet we challenge you to adhere to the very best hygiene habits for your smile. Kick those bad habits today to gain a more confident, brilliant smile!