Plenty of people hear their dentist say that they need to brush more often, but did you know that some folks need to brush less often, use softer bristles, change their technique or use whitening toothpaste? All of these suggestions recently appeared on the Huffington Post, in a slide show about bad breath, proper oral care and brushing.
Amanda Schupak, a reporter for YouBeauty, asked dentist and prosthodontist Michael Lenchner what things people tend to do wrong when brushing their teeth. If you had to think of any, how many could you come up with?
Lenchner named eight things that people could change about their brushing routine. These included:
1. Brushing longer. Many folks scrub their teeth for 30 seconds or so, when the optimal time is two to three minutes. Since this is the length of the average pop song, trying listening to one full song on your stereo while you brush.
2. Not pressing so hard. If you press your toothbrush into your teeth too hard, you can scrub away some of their enamel - and erode your gums in the process. Press lightly on teeth, use brushes with soft bristles and brush in little circles, not side-to-side or in straight lines. If you've ever seen older adult who used hard bristles and brushed side-to-side as children, their teeth can have gray, horizontal scores or grooves in them. (Folks with this problem can reduce the appearance of permanent gouges by using a specialty whitening toothpaste.)
3. Replacing your toothbrush every three months. Sadly, even the best specialty toothbrushes need to be replaced often. This isn't because they wear out quickly, but because the bristles harbor billions of bad-breath-causing germs.
4. Using whitening toothpaste. Lenchner explained that baking-soda pastes can be too abrasive on your enamel, whereas specialty whitening toothpastes brighten teeth and eliminate halitosis without grinding down your pearly whites.
5. Flossing. Everyone hates flossing, but there's a good reason to stick to it - namely, because plaque sticks between your teeth. People who don't floss gradually accumulate a great deal of plaque below the gumline. This stuff is crawling with microbes, and it irritates your gums. Over time, this buildup can lead to bad breath, gingivitis and, worst of all, periodontal disease, which causes teeth to loosen and fall out. Yikes!
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