Avoid these oral care mistakes and decrease your risk of halitosis
SUMMARY: Don't let common misconceptions ruin your breath!
Posted: September 25, 2012
When it comes to preventing bad breath, one of the most important steps you may need to take is practicing proper oral care techniques. While many people may think they are doing everything they should to guarantee fresh breath and pearly white teeth, they may be wrong. In fact, there are many common dental health mistakes that people make on a regular basis that could be damaging their teeth and leaving them vulnerable to halitosis.
For example, do you floss your teeth appropriately? Do you brush after every meal? Do you know if these are the right or wrong moves to be making? Read on to find out.
Too much of a good thing
The Huffington Post reported on some common dental mistakes and how to avoid them. First, many people believe that they should be brushing as hard as they can because doing so will better remove stains and bad breath and cavity-causing bacteria from the mouth. In reality, brushing hard may remove tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity and receding gums. All of this increases a person's chances of experiencing tooth decay and, subsequently, bad breath.
Also, it is a common belief that people should brush after every meal. In fact, earlier this year when the American Dental Association (ADA) released their National Oral Health Quiz, 90 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "you should brush after every meal."
However, according to the ADA, this is incorrect. Similarly to brushing too hard, doing so after every meal may also wear away at tooth enamel and leave a person more vulnerable to tooth decay. The ADA recommends brushing teeth twice a day - no more, no less. After a big meal, alcohol-free mouthwash can eliminate halitosis without the use of a brush.
It turns out that letting simple acts fall by the wayside may lead to bad breath as well. For example, Annapolis Dental Care states that those who fail to rinse their toothbrush after each use are inviting old bacteria into their mouth the next time they brush.
Also, many individuals may forget to change their toothbrush regularly. On the ADA's Oral Health Quiz, 65 percent of respondents said that a toothbrush only needs to be changed out every six months. In reality, purchasing a new one every three to four months is best practice.
Of course, there's also the issue of forgetting to floss. This can certainly lead to halitosis, since the bacteria and plaque that causes bad breath can easily get stuck between the teeth and make it impossible for people to remove with normal brushing. That's why it's extremely important to floss correctly. Many individuals "snap" floss between their teeth, which may cause damage to gums. Instead, it's important to gently glide floss between one's teeth.
Finally, people often forget to schedule at least two dentist appointments each year. This will certainly increase their risk of bad breath, since there are many parts of the mouth where bacteria can build up, yet people can't reach it themselves with either floss or a toothbrush. This is where dentists can step in, as these professionals possess the tools to help reduce this plaque and the risk of halitosis.