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Dental health: Five common brushing mistakes that people make


While a lot of people are afraid to go pay a visit to a dentist, they do not do much to take care of their oral and dental health and hygiene either. In fact, some people who diligently brush every day, also find themselves suffering from pain and other such problems, despite all their efforts.

While visiting your dentist every few months is advisable, you can also do some things at your end to keep your dental health. Dr Diksha Tahilramani Batra, a prosthodontist, implantologist and smile design specialist, says there are certain mistakes that people do while brushing their teeth, a routine that is often a subconscious habit, but one that can lead to poor oral health and hygiene, if not done properly.

1. Not using a proper toothbrush

The biggest myth of our time is to buy a medium or hard toothbrush to clean more effectively. This can cause maximum damage over the years by wearing off healthy, natural teeth with overzealous care.

2. Using an anti-sensitivity/whitening toothpaste permanently

A common mistake is to use a medicated toothpaste meant to mask sensitivity over a prolonged period. Such a practice masks the symptom, but does not treat the problem and also makes you vulnerable to cavities, gum disease and bad breath, since the predominant component in such a toothpaste is for treating sensitivity or lightening tooth colour.

The type of toothpaste doesn’t matter, as long as you use the right amount and brush twice a day. Sensitive toothpastes are meant to be used for a prescribed period of time and whitening toothpastes must be used under supervision to prevent any potential damage to your teeth. Toothpaste must protect your teeth and gums, so use a combination that contains fluoride that protects your teeth from decay, and gel-based parts which have antibacterial properties to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

3. Brushing too quickly, or too many times

Most of us hate going to the dentist and find brushing an easier alternative. But you cannot exactly brush off old cavities — just prevent new ones. Ensure you brush your teeth not more than twice a day. Excessive brushing can damage your gums and enamel. It does not take a lot of pressure to remove the plaque, hence most dental practitioners suggest brushing using a balanced pressure.

Sensitive toothpastes are meant to be used for a prescribed period of time and whitening toothpastes must be used under supervision to prevent any potential damage to your teeth. (Photo: Pixabay)

4. Incorrect brushing technique

The strokes while brushing your teeth must be vertical and not horizontal. Many people are habituated with performing long horizontal brushing strokes. This leads to irritation and damage.

Hold your brush at an angle of 45 degrees to your gums and brush your gums and teeth with an up and down motion and short strokes. Don’t use side to side strokes. Also, start brushing on areas that you have been ignoring till now; reach the inner portions of your teeth.

5. Wrestling

Hard brushing damages the gums. Brushing more than 3-4 times is also bad for you. Since unlearning a bad brushing habit may be hard, switch from a manual to an automatic brush. A battery-operated brush takes the guesswork out of brushing. It may take a while to get adjusted to it, but like so many other things, automatic brushes make dental hygiene easy and even reduce the frequency of your dental visits.

“Brushing your teeth is only a part of a complete dental care routine. Washing the mouth twice a day keeps it clean. Floss your teeth; it helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. Eat a balanced diet and limit snacking between meals. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings,” says Dr Batra.

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