Brushing and flossing your teeth has become common practice for nearly every member of modern society.  It is known to be of the utmost importance in maintaining a healthy smile, and yet, very few really consider the finer details of it.  Many of us would be surprised to find that there are a number of common mistakes we are all guilty of when it comes to tooth brushing and flossing!  If you wish to retain a healthy, happy set of teeth and gums, you would be wise to heed the common mistakes described below, and work toward reinventing your brushing and flossing habits.

Not Brushing Your Teeth for Long Enough

The often recommended two minutes of morning and evening brushing is often very easy to misjudge.  Many of us frequently brush for what we believe is about two minutes, when in reality, it has been no more than a minute, or even thirty seconds.  The fact of the matter is that it is not possible to adequately all tooth surfaces in less than two minutes, and that single brushing in the morning or evening is not sufficient to prevent tooth decay.  To ensure you are brushing for an adequate amount of time, it is best to use a timer with your brushing.  You can even invest in an electric toothbrush that has a built-in timer!

brushing your teeth timer


Incorrect or Neglected Flossing

The common recommendation of dentists everywhere is to floss once daily, preferably in the evening before bed.  However, individuals who are prone to getting food trapped in their teeth could do well to floss more frequently.  Flossing as much as three times per day – after each meal – provides complete assurance that food is not remaining trapped in your teeth, fermenting and promoting tooth decay.  Unlike brushing, it is not possible to floss too much!

Trying to Replace Regular Flossing with Mouthwash

Many people incorrectly assume that mouthwash can take the place of flossing in your daily oral care routine.  The reality is that mouthwash can never penetrate the tiny spaces between your teeth like floss can, and its about as effective as not flossing at all – missing up to 30% of your tooth’s surface!  While mouthwash is a great tool for light removal of bacteria and breath freshening, it can never make routine flossing obsolete.

Forgetting to Scrape Your Tongue

The rough surface of your tongue harbors millions of bacteria in between its surface bumps.  These bacteria are one of the primary causes of bad breath, and can latch onto your teeth after brushing to undo your hard work.  For a complete and lasting clean, gently scraping the surface of your tongue can remove these trapped bacteria and leaving you feeling refreshed.  The scraping can be done with either your toothbrush or a dedicated tongue scraper.

Using Only an Electric Toothbrush

woman brushing her teeth

There is no doubt that electric toothbrushes have significantly improved tooth brushing since their inception. Their fast motors and unique bristle designs often help to clear away tartar and grime more comfortably and

efficiently than manual brushing alone.  However, it would be foolish to assume that manual toothbrushes have no place in your oral care arsenal.  Electric toothbrushes often employ clunky handles that make it nearly impossible to access the teeth in the very back of your mouth.  In contrast, the slim profile of a manual toothbrush makes this task easy.  For best results, we recommend doing the majority of your brushing with an electric model, and making use of a manual for the last thirty seconds to really cleanup your back teeth.