The Most Common Toothbrushing Mistakes

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Did you know there’s a right and a wrong way to brush your teeth? Do you know if you are using the right or the wrong way? Despite the fact that we all think we know what we’re doing, many people actually make mistakes while brushing their teeth. In fact, you may be making these same mistakes while brushing your teeth and not even know it. Therefore, it is a good idea to scan through this list of the most common tooth brushing mistakes to see if any of these are part of your daily routine:

Brushing too hard

One common mistake dentists often see their patients making is that they brush too hard. The reason why they can tell is because their patients often have excessively worn tooth enamel. When brushing your teeth, you only need to massage your teeth by applying firm, gentle pressure. Contrary to what many people think, scrubbing your teeth does not actually remove stains or do a better job of removing plaque. This is because plaque does not require a lot of pressure for removal, and stains can simply not be removed by a toothbrush alone. Instead, brushing too hard only ruins your enamel and causes it to wear down faster. If you are concerned about stains or discolorations on your teeth, then ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatments.

Brushing sideways

tooth brushing technique

Along with scrubbing the teeth, many people tend to use a side-to-side approach when brushing their teeth. However, the recommended technique is to move your toothbrush in a circular motion while applying gentle pressure. These small circles should start along the gum line and work towards the tip of the tooth. If you regularly struggle with using the proper technique, then it may be beneficial to invest in an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are specifically programmed to use this circular technique and they can drastically improve your brushing routine.

Using a hard toothbrush 

In addition to brushing too hard, some people also use a toothbrush that is too hard. Much like brushing too hard, using a toothbrush that is too hard will only damage your enamel and cause it to wear down faster. Instead, it is recommended to use a toothbrush with soft but firm bristles. To know that you are getting an appropriate toothbrush, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.

Using an old toothbrush

Once you find a perfect soft toothbrush, you will also want to make sure that you are regularly replacing your toothbrush. Ideally, you should replace your toothbrush approximately every 3 to 4 months, as well as after you’ve been sick. Replacing your toothbrush ensures that the bristles remain effective in removing plaque, as well as preventing too much bacteria from accumulating on the toothbrush. Some potential signs that your toothbrush needs to be replaced includes bristles that are frayed, broken, or discolored.


The American Dental Association recommends brushing two times a day for at least two minutes at a time. Failing to brush twice a day or to brush for two minutes at a time, can have serious implications on your oral health. For starters, people who rush while brushing often miss places where plaque accumulates. In fact, many dentists notice that their patients forget to brush along the gum line and on the insides of their teeth near the tongue. These locations become popular spots for plaque accumulation and can drastically increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

woman rinsing her mouth with water

Rinsing after you brush 

Many people automatically rinse their mouth with water after they brush. However, dentists actually recommend that you avoid rinsing your mouth after brushing. This is because toothpaste contains fluoride, which is used to strengthen enamel and prevent future plaque accumulation. In order to ensure that the fluoride coats the surface of your teeth, it is important to avoid rinsing after brushing.

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