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Five Bad Brushing Habits to Avoid

By Jill Feilmeier on July 26, 2012 in Dental Health

Sisters brushing teeth in bathroom

Brushing your teeth twice a day, morning and night, is a ritual for most Americans. But, could you be doing it wrong? We've covered five of the most common bad brushing habits so that you can make sure you are up to par with your pearly whites.

1.  Not brushing long enough. Most people bush their teeth for only a minute, but experts say you need at least two minutes to eliminate the entire bacterial film in your mouth. Nowadays many electric toothbrushes are timed. To ensure you are getting to two minutes, time yourself. You may need two cycles of the automatic setting.

2. Being right winged. Many dentists have seen that right handed people tend to clean the right side of their teeth better and left handers the left side. Make sure you are giving equal attention to both sides no matter which hand you brush with. And don't ignore the gum line; that's where the most tartar and plaque buildup.

3. Using a side to side motion. A side to side or sawing motion can actually hurt the enamel of your teeth. Instead use a circular motion.

4. Being a bully. Be gentle but energetic while brushing. Having a heavy hand can again damage the enamel or irritate your gums.

5. Too much white. Whitening toothpastes can do a great job of reducing stains on the teeth. However, they can be harsh on the enamel of your teeth since they contain harsh and abrasive ingredients. Instead of only whitening toothpaste, set yourself a schedule. Use whitening in the morning and regular at night, or use the whitening toothpaste for two weeks and then the regular for two weeks.

With these helpful tips, we know you'll be better equipped to tackle that plaque and protect your teeth!