April 9, 2015

7 Bad Brushing Habits That Could Affect Your Teeth


The first teeth cleaners date back 3500-3000 BC. The Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to have created ancient oral brushes by fraying the tips of twigs. The next civilization on the list to have made early toothbrushes were the Chinese in 1600 BC., the chinese used aromatic chewing sticks. The handles were reported to have been made from ivory and oxen bone and the bristles were made from horse or hog hair. Europe was late when it came to jumping on the oral hygiene bandwagon. The 17th century is when the toothbrush made its official appearance but it wouldn’t be until the later half of the century when it became popular in North America.brushing habits for kids in surrey

Today toothbrushes with plastic handles are mass produced and can be purchased inexpensively, it doesn’t mean that people brush their teeth regularly or correctly. Many people take for granted the daily cleaning of their teeth and end up paying the price. The Canadian Dental Association reported that 80% of Canadians will be affected by gum disease at some point in their life. Daily oral maintenance only takes a few minutes each day. Doesn’t it make sense to invest in your health?

1. Stop using the wrong toothbrush

Bad brushing techniques include not brushing your teeth long enough. The majority of dental professionals recommend brushing for at least 2 mins. The second mistake most people make is selecting the wrong size toothbrush for their mouths.

A clean toothbrush goes a long way to ensuring dental hygiene. Most dental professionals recommend purchasing an ultra-soft bristled brush for optimal removal of plaque and food particles. Small headed toothbrushes are preferable to larger toothbrush heads for reaching those hard to reach places. Deciding what is the best size depends on you entirely.

Electric toothbrushes made by manufacturers like Oral-B and Phillips are purported to deliver better cleaning than manual brushing. A professional powerbrush works by precision cleaning each tooth. A manual toothbrush doesn’t have a vibrating head that pulsates to remove plaque from teeth. The head of an electric toothbrush eliminates additional particles by oscillating and rotating plaque away from the tooth. The more oscillations and pulsations per cycle, the more pricier the electric toothbrush.

Investing in a good quality toothbrush is like having a dentist in your bathroom available any time of the day. Electric toothbrushes are available in battery or rechargeable versions. The New Oral-B Bluetooth electric toothbrush communicates with a smartphone app. As a patient you have the option of having your dentist program your toothbrush to deliver the best teeth cleaning experience specifically for you.

2. Not flossing

Flossing should be incorporated into your daily dental care routine. Your toothbrush can’t clean 100 percent of your mouth effectively. Flossing prevents excess plaque from turning into gingivitis a form of gum disease. If you are unsure about how to properly floss consult your dental care professional for assistance.

Flossing may be uncomfortable for the newbie but don’t quit, ask your dental professional for a proper demonstration if you are unsure about your technique.

3. Brushing too hard

Brushing your teeth hard can be detrimental to the enamel on your teeth. Eroding the top layer of your teeth leaves them vulnerable to cavities and tooth erosion. The enamel protects the dentin underneath. Dentin connects to the the tooth’s nerve center and this is where sensitive teeth syndrome comes into play.  People with sensitive teeth experience nerve irritation that may be exacerbated by brushing too hard.

For the techies the New Oral-B Bluetooth toothbrush communicates with an app on your smartphone telling you if you’re brushing too hard.

4. Incorrect brushing technique

Most people learned to brush their teeth during early childhood, but are you brushing them correctly? The default brushing motion most people employ is the horizontal side to side technique. Trying to break a bad habit that has been deeply inculcated from childhood is no simple feat. Brushing from side to side has been found to erode the enamel 2 to 3 times faster than the up and down correct motion. The best method of brushing the teeth is a gentle circular motion. The circular method is extremely effective in combating gum disease like gingival recession. Gentle brushing of the gum tissue is also recommended for the maintenance of healthy gums.

5. Not brushing your tongue

The majority of bad breath and halitosis cases have been linked to the residue left on the tongue. A combination of hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans are the prime culprits of halitosis. Tongue cleaning and tongue scraping play a major role in oral hygiene and halitosis prevention.

People that wake up in the morning with that white film on the tongue will benefit immediately from the purchase of a tongue scraper. If you don’t want to invest in a tongue scraper than simply using your toothbrush is equally effective. You can clean your tongue before or after you brush your teeth. Here are some simple cleaning instructions:

  • Rinse your toothbrush or tongue cleaner before cleaning. You can apply a dab of Arm & Hammer baking soda to the tongue prior to cleaning.
  • Begin cleaning the back of your tongue and work forward.
  • Brush or scrape the entire surface of your tongue and the sides.
  • Continue to clean until the white residue on the tongue is removed.
  • Rinse your mouth after brushing or scraping your tongue.

After you have finished brushing or scraping, your tongue should have a healthy pink appearance.

6. The wrong toothpaste

Toothpastes are made from pastes, gels and powders. The purpose of toothpaste is to remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gum tissue. The double circular motion combined with the right toothpaste is effective in preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Fluoride is a common ingredient added to many toothpaste brands.

Toothpaste ingredients:

  • Calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, hydrated silica, glycerin, water, sorbitol, sodium lauryl sulfate, titanium dioxide, sodium saccharin, PVM/MA copolymer, propylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, carrageenan, mica, FD&C blue no.1 and D&C yellow no.10
  • Flavouring agents do not contribute to tooth decay
  • Thickeners or binders stabilize the toothpaste formula

The average consumer walking down the aisle of a grocery store gets inundated by dozens of different brands. Patients who have regular dental checkups may not require specialty toothpaste brands. Oral-B is one such company who manufactures the Oral-B Pro-Expert toothpaste that was made to address the above dental issues. .

  • Sensitivity
  • Gum issues
  • Chronic bad breath or halitosis
  • Stains
  • Tartar
  • Plaque
  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis

7. Not replacing your toothbrush on a regular basis

The American Dental Association (ADA) advocates replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. People who own electric toothbrushes should also replace their toothbrush heads on a regular basis. For the absent minded Oral-B brushes contain a blue indicator that fades when its necessary to replace.

Just remember washing the head of your toothbrush is not enough, the bristles contain bacteria from the mouth that contribute to gum disease. A clean brush is optimum for oral health.

So there you have it 7 simple and effective methods to overcome bad brushing habits. It only takes a few minutes per day and a couple of visits per year to a dentist to avoid periodontal disease.

About Dr. Michael Layton

Dr. Michael Layton - South Surrey Dentist, Dental ImplantsDr. Michael Layton (DDS) is the dentist for Peace Arch Dental, a dental office in the South Surrey/White Rock, B.C. area. He has been in the dental industry for the last decade and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. He takes pride in providing positive and caring dental solutions for people of every walk of life. You can follow him on Google+.