November 13, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Proper Toothbrushing: Avoiding 14 Common Mistakes for a Healthier Smile

Welcome to the one-stop destination for perfecting your toothbrushing routine. In this comprehensive guide, we're delving deep into the art of brushing your teeth the right way. We'll cover everything from nailing the right technique to determining the ideal toothpaste amount, plus much more. By the end, you'll have your brushing game on point, and your smile will thank you for it.

Consider this your go-to source for unearthing common toothbrushing blunders, debunking myths, and discovering the hidden gems of oral hygiene. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a toothbrushing novice, there's something for everyone here. So, let's get ready to embark on this dental adventure, where you might even pick up some nifty tips and a laugh or two along the way.

1. It's a Massage, Not a Battle

The first mistake we'll tackle is a common one. When brushing your teeth, it's important to remember that you're not engaged in a war with your enamel. No need to go all 'scrubbing burnt lasagna off the oven door' on your teeth. Actors may exaggerate their toothbrushing skills in commercials, but dentists recommend a gentler approach. Instead of vigorous scrubbing, opt for gentle circular motions. If you're using a quality electric toothbrush, you might not even need to "brush" in the traditional sense. These brushes are designed to do the work for you; all you need to do is guide them.

2. Angle for Success

The angle of your toothbrush plays a crucial role in reaching every nook and cranny. To get the most out of your brushing, tilt your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. This allows the bristles to access those tricky areas under your gum line. You might wonder if this could erode your gums, but fear not! If you brush with care, this angle helps prevent gum recession by effectively removing plaque and bacteria.

3. Bristles: The Softer, the Better

a gif of someone brushing the camera

There seems to be a misconception that the stiffer the bristle, the deeper the clean. While that might work for sweeping the patio, when it comes to toothbrushes, hard bristles can lead to trouble. They can damage your enamel and harm your gums. A more effective approach is to choose a toothbrush with medium/soft bristles. They offer a thorough clean while being gentle on your gums. Our plant-based toothbrush heads, for example, use soft bristles to provide both reassurance and an effective clean.

4. Twice a Day Keeps the Dentist Away

Brushing your teeth is a basic task, right? But one in five people forget to do it twice a day. Yikes! Make it a habit to brush your teeth twice daily, especially before bedtime. Skipping a brushing session leaves bacteria in your mouth to party all night long. And nobody wants that.

5. Take Your Sweet Time

Two minutes - that's all it takes. Or rather, that's how long you should spend brushing your teeth. Research indicates that most of us significantly overestimate the time we spend brushing. In fact, studies show we can overestimate by a whole minute! So, the next time you're standing in front of the mirror, remember to dedicate two full minutes. This allows you to give each tooth the attention it deserves and can help you remove up to 26% more plaque. That's definitely worth the time, don't you think? To help with this, our sustainable electric toothbrush includes a built-in two-minute timer and haptic feedback every 30 seconds. This way, you know when it's time to switch to the next quadrant of your mouth.

6. Eating and Drinking: The Waiting Game

We get it; that oat milk cappuccino is calling your name, but hold on for a moment. After you eat or drink, give it at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. You see, after you consume food or beverages, your saliva becomes more acidic. When you brush your teeth in this state, it temporarily weakens the enamel, making them more vulnerable. Waiting a while before brushing is a wise move to protect your precious enamel.

7. To Rinse or Not to Rinse? That's the Question

Nobody particularly enjoys the lingering taste of toothpaste, but don't be too hasty to wash it away. Avoid rinsing your mouth with water right after brushing, as you'll be flushing away all that fluoride goodness before it has a chance to do its magic. Think of it as the after-party for your teeth. Let the fluoride mingle and strengthen your enamel.

8. Mix Up Your Routine

Auto-pilot mode: we've all been there, especially at 6 AM in the morning. But it's time to spice things up a bit. Most of us tend to start brushing in the same spot each time, and let's be honest, our front teeth get way more love than the ones hiding in the back. To break free from this routine, try beginning your toothbrushing routine in a different spot each day. Not only does this keep things interesting, but it also prevents you from neglecting certain areas.

9. The Neglected Tongue

It's time to address the elephant in the mouth - your tongue! We won't ask you to lick the back of your hand and take a whiff; that's not necessary. But what is essential is giving your tongue a good clean during your brushing routine. The tongue plays host to a wide array of germs and bacteria, so make sure it gets the attention it deserves. Fortunately, our plant-based toothbrush heads come with a handy tongue scraper to make this task easier.

10. Out with the Old, In with the New

We're all probably guilty of this one - not changing our toothbrush heads often enough. Dentists recommend swapping your toothbrush head at least every three months. Why? Well, over time, bristles become frayed and damaged, leading to a loss of flexibility and effectiveness. On top of that, they accumulate a fair amount of bacteria. To stay on top of your oral health, check our pack of Sustainable Tomorrow Replacement Heads as well as Sonicare Compatible Tootbhrush Heads.

11. Picking the Right Toothpaste

Charcoal, baking soda, aloe vera, olive oil, coconut - the flavors sound delicious, but when it comes to toothpaste, be discerning. Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride or nHAp (nano-hydroxyapatite). These two are the dentist-recommended gold standards for remineralization and cavity protection. That's the kind of toothpaste that's truly worth the squeeze.

12. Less Toothpaste, More Savings

Those flashy toothpaste commercials might have you believe that you need a brush-sized dollop to get the job done. The truth is, a pea-sized amount is all you really need. While using too much toothpaste won't harm adults, it's simply wasteful. So, remember - less is more.

13. Covering Your Toothbrush Head? Don't!

Toothbrush covers are great for protecting your toothbrush while you travel, but using them daily is a different story. If you put a cover on your toothbrush head every day, you're creating a germ-friendly environment. The cover traps moisture and keeps your bristles wet, essentially building a cozy cocoon for germs. Spare your toothbrush the wet confinement.

14. The Unforgettable Floss

Ah, flossing - the part of oral care that's easy to skip. Your toothbrush can't reach every crevice, and sometimes, a rogue piece of pulled pork needs a bit of extra encouragement. If flossing feels like a daunting task, try committing to flossing just one tooth every night. It might sound silly, but once you start, you'll find it easy to continue. Before you know it, you've leveled up your oral care routine.

Congratulations! You've now mastered the art of proper toothbrushing. Before we part ways, here's a bonus tip: Stop Procrastinating Your Dentist Appointment. Seriously, stop whatever you're doing right now, look up your dentist's contact details, and book an appointment. Your teeth will thank you, and you'll have taken a big step towards maintaining a healthy smile.

That's it for our deep dive into toothbrushing, angles, and tongue hygiene. Happy brushing, and may your smile shine brighter than ever!