Brushing teeth is something we all (hopefully) do at least twice a day, but what if we’ve been brushing wrong all along?
Unfortunately, two wrongs don’t make a right in dental care and like Angelique Kearney, president of the Oral Hygienist Association of South Africa and a member of the Listerine Dental Academy, says, “You need to brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash ‘correctly’ for the best results.”
We spoke to Angelique Kearney, and Dr Janél Welgemoed, a professional dentist from Longbeach Dental Noordhoek, to find out what common mistakes people make when cleaning their mouth. Here are 4 things they highlighted:
The wrong brushing method
Using the incorrect method to brush your teeth can lead to plaque not being removed properly which in turn can escalate into - wait for it - gum and tooth disease! Things to look out for when brushing is how long, how often and how hard you brush your teeth. Brushing too long can lead to the damaging of gums and the thinning of the enamel while brushing too short can mean not all plaque gets removed from the teeth, according to Dr Welgemoed. Brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day is recommended. What is the correct way to brush then? The best oral hygiene sequence protocol, as recommended by our experts, is to brush, floss, clean your tongue and rinse with mouthwash.
The wrong type of toothbrush
Many people make the mistake of buying the wrong toothbrush - a hard toothbrush. According to Kearney, a toothbrush that’s too hard can cause damage to your gums and teeth in the long term and is not more effective than a soft tooth brush when cleaning your teeth. “If you need to replace your toothbrush monthly because the toothbrush bristles are worn, you are brushing too hard,” she says. She also recommends that your toothbrush also needs to be replaced at least every 4 months. That's because germs can hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection. Also, if you have been ill with the flu, it’s also necessary to replace your toothbrush to prevent re-infection.
Not cleaning your whole mouth and tongue
Did you know that brushing alone only reaches 25% of your mouth? According to this research by Listerine, it means that most of your mouth stays untouched if you only brush. The tongue, for example, is a big surface that is covered with plaque bacteria. “Cleaning your tongue loosens all plaque bacteria from the tongue making it easier to remove by rinsing with a mouthwash,” says Dr Welgemoed. “Adding a mouthwash to your dental routine will have added benefits of helping remove plaque from hard to reach areas in your mouth and in-between your teeth,” adds Kearney.
To see what difference these common mistakes can make to your oral hygiene, CLICK AND DRAG YOUR MOUSE OR FINGER ACROSS THE INFOGRAPHIC BELOW TO REVEAL WHAT CLEANING 25%, 50% AND 100% REALLY LOOKS LIKE :