Dr Philip Makepeace

123 Bargara Rd, Bundaberg, QLD, 4670

8 Common Toothbrush Mistakes


After brushing your teeth for so many years, it’s easy to consider yourself some kind of “Toothbrush Maestro”. After all, how hard could brushing your teeth be? With a regular toothbrush, a squirt of toothpaste and some wrist motion- anyone could have teeth brushing nailed down to an art, right? Well, not so much. Turns out, you could be doing a few things wrong.

Those toothbrush mistakes

We’ve all made a toothbrush mistake some time or the other. The problem is, you can’t really correct a mistake if you don’t know you’re making one. So, here are some of the most common toothbrush mistakes:

Toothbrush mistake#1: Using an old toothbrush that should be thrown away

Ideally, you should throw out your toothbrush after 3 months. By then, the bristles are bound to be frayed and damaged, and cannot do the job of effectively cleaning your teeth. Furthermore, your toothbrush would have collected a lot of bacteria and food particles and won’t be as clean anymore.

Toothbrush mistake#2: Not brushing long enough

You should be brushing your teeth for about 2 minutes per session. That’s 120 seconds. It may seem like you are brushing for the full 2 minutes, or even longer; but without a timer you can’t really be sure. The fluoride in toothpaste needs 2 minutes to attach to your tooth enamel; so when you’re running late, don’t make teeth brushing one of the things you cut short.

Toothbrush mistake#3: Using the wrong toothbrush

All that’s required of a toothbrush is that it remove food particles lodged between your teeth. You don’t need a hard-bristled toothbrush for that. Soft bristles are much more effective in that they cause no harm to the tooth enamel and can bend to gently clean under the gums. When stuck with the option of choosing between a hard, medium or soft-bristled toothbrush, always go for the soft-bristled one.

Toothbrush mistake#4: Using your toothbrush as a “scrubber”

Brushing harder does not equal cleaner teeth. “Scrubbing” your teeth leads to the recession of the top layer of the gum, resulting in increased tooth sensitivity. Plaque is soft and doesn’t need to be vigorously scrubbed off your teeth. Gentle motions will get the job done without any damage.

Toothbrush mistake#5: Keeping your toothbrush in the bathroom

It seems logical – natural even, to keep your toothbrush in the bathroom where it is easily accessible. But the problem occurs when the toilet is in close vicinity to where your toothbrush is kept. When you flush, the contents of the toilet are sprayed everywhere. So, always remember to close the toilet lid when flushing (something you’re bound to occasionally forget), or keep your toothbrush stored elsewhere.

Toothbrush mistake#6: Using incorrect brushing technique

You should be holding your toothbrush at a 45- degree angle, using soft, circular motions to brush your teeth. Back-and-forth motions can cause damage to the gums and tooth enamel. The middle set of bristles should be used to clean between your teeth and gums. When brushing, you need to make sure you clean above and beneath the gum line (helps prevent cavities and gum disease), and all parts of the teeth. That includes the chewing surfaces as well as the back and front of your teeth.

Toothbrush mistake#7: Forgetting to brush your tongue

Cleaning your tongue removes residual bacteria and helps prevent bad breath. After brushing your teeth, you should use a tongue scraper, or the back of your toothbrush that should have a built-in tongue scraper to clean your tongue. If your toothbrush doesn’t have a tongue scraper, using the bristles of your toothbrush to lightly brush your tongue is sufficient.

Toothbrush mistake#8: Brushing after every meal

Brushing twice a day is good enough. But, if you happen to be enthusiastic about brushing after meals, then wait for 15-20 minutes after every meal before whipping out your dental kit. After eating, the acids produced by bacteria, are very much present in your mouth; and when toothpaste is immediately thrown into the mix, it assists the acids in eroding the enamel. You can use water to remove the acids in your mouth before brushing your teeth.

Are you worried that you may have been brushing your teeth as you would an old pair of shoes that refuse to shine? Not quite sure if you’re reaching all parts of your teeth with your toothbrush? No problem. Give our team at Distinctive Dental Care, Bundaberg a call, and we will make sure that your brushing technique is up to scratch!

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