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Most of us know that it’s crucially important to our oral health to brush twice a day, floss, and use a mouthwash to banish bacteria and add an extra layer of protection. Once these steps become habit, they’re easy to maintain and integrate into your daily routine. Sometimes though, tasks that become habitual can also become automatic, causing us to stop considering the way in which we do a somewhat monotonous action. It’s important to periodically take a step back and reevaluate how we brush to make sure we’re doing the most thorough job we can to keep our teeth clean and our mouths happy! If you’d like to brush up on your brushing skills, keep reading to see if you’re making any of these common mistakes!

1. Out with the Old, in with the New

One common mistake people make with their oral health routine is that they don’t replace their toothbrushes often enough. A toothbrush only has a lifespan of about three to four months, but many people use theirs for considerably longer! Old, worn bristles don’t do as thorough of a job clearing plaque and debris away so you aren’t getting the deep clean your mouth really needs. Consider using the change of the seasons as a reminder to get a new brush or set a reminder on your phone for every 90 to 100 days!

2. Don’t Overdo It

Brushing too hard is another incredibly common mistake people make when it comes to their daily routine. While it may seem counterintuitive, brushing with a firm grip and harsh strokes can actually wear away your protective enamel and lead to receding gums! A gentle, even stroke is best to ensure you’re clearing away plaque while also treating your teeth with kindness. Additionally, avoid firm bristled toothbrushes as these can cause more damage than good! Soft bristles are just right for clearing away plaque and food.

3. Sharing is Not Caring

The debate rages among couples over whether or not sharing a toothbrush is gross, and today we’re here to tell you that it is definitely something to be avoided. Sharing food, drinks, and kisses with someone does not expose you to different germs and bacteria the same way sharing a toothbrush will, and it’s best just to let everyone use their own. Viruses like the flu can stay alive on surfaces for multiple hours and sharing a toothbrush with someone who has an oral infection can cause you to develop the same.

4. Time is A Commodity

While brushing for a short period of time is always going to be better than not brushing at all, it’s dangerous to get in the habit of brushing for less than the required two minutes every morning and night. A 30-second brush won’t do an adequate job removing plaque and debris, and over time minimal brushing will lead to tooth decay and other oral problems. If necessary, set a timer for yourself to get in your full two minutes, or consider a toothbrush with a built-in timer instead!

If you have questions about keeping your oral routine up to par, or if you would like to schedule a routine appointment, give us a call at Downtown Dental in River North or the Loop today!