How To Avoid Cleaning Your Teeth The Wrong Way

Cleaning your teeth is essential to your oral health, but poor brushing techniques can harm your teeth and gums instead of protecting them. You need to do it right for teeth brushing to be effective. The "how" really does make all make the difference:

Use caution when brushing with toothpastes that can thin and weaken tooth enamel. Although whitening toothpastes generally are considered as safe as other toothpastes, excessive use can eventually damage tooth enamel, reports Mayo Clinic. Whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles that polish the teeth.

For example, toothpastes that contain baking soda, which is mildly abrasive, whiten teeth by removing stains. However, over time, anything abrasive takes a toll on tooth enamel.

The most important thing to look for when choosing a toothpaste is the American Dental Association seal of approval. This tells you the toothpaste contains fluoride and an effective whitening agent.

Select the right tools. The size of your toothbrush matters. Choose a soft-bristled brush with a small head, which makes it easier to reach your back teeth. If you brush too hard, a medium- or hard-bristled toothbrush can damage your gums and tooth enamel. Although a soft-bristled brush is gentler on your teeth and gums, even that can cause abrasions and damage your teeth if you don't use it right.

Watch how much pressure you apply. The pressure of brushing too hard can cause enamel to crack or break. You don't need to use a scrubbing motion to remove plaque. Aggressive brushing can also irritate your gums or cause them to recede.

Because receding gums are a condition that occurs as a gradual process that takes years, you may not notice it until you start to have other dental problems. But once the roots of a tooth are exposed, your teeth become more prone to tooth decay, and your gums susceptible to periodontal disease.

Pay attention to the way you position your toothbrush. Place the bristles of the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. With gentle strokes, brush away from the gums toward the edge of the teeth.

Use the proper motion. Don't brush your teeth by moving the brush side to side. This technique can weaken your teeth and lead to cracks. Move your toothbrush in small circles instead.

Brush along the gum line. This is a place where plaque and tartar build up. Without proper teeth brushing, your gums can become inflamed, leading to gingivitis -- the early stage of gum disease.

Don't skimp on the time it takes you to brush. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time. Anything less than that isn't long enough.

If you aren't good about sticking it out for an adequate amount of time, buy yourself a toothbrush with a timer. Many manual toothbrushes for children come with light-up timers. For adults, rechargeable electric and power toothbrushes with auto timers are available. Electric and power toothbrushes also remove more plaque.

Floss to get the areas where your toothbrush can't reach. Cavities can form where food particles and bacteria get stuck between your teeth. Bacteria can do a real job on eroding tooth enamel where two teeth touch.

Avoid sawing back and forth with the floss or tugging at it too hard. Either habit can hurt your gums.

Rinse your mouth after brushing or flossing. Once you loosen bacterial plaque from the surface of your teeth, you need to wash it away. Use water or an alcohol-free mouthwash. Or use a fluoride mouth rinse, which also strengthens tooth enamel and lowers the risk of getting cavities.

To learn more, contact a company like Carolina Forest Family Dentistry with any questions or concerns you have.