The mouth is a very sensitive part of the body, so we must always care and protect it. Perhaps due to a busy schedule or learned behavior, a lot of people care for their mouth far less than they should, thereby exposing themselves to all sorts of oral danger. But that needs to change in order for you to stay healthy. Here are some common dental/oral mistakes you must change.
USE OF MOUTHWASH: Contrary to what you see in commercials, mouthwash actually isn’t all that great for your dental hygiene. It disturbs the natural flora in your mouth and can even be drying, thus promoting the growth of the very bacteria you’re trying to kill. In fact, you want to nourish and promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth for great breath, cavity prevention, and even overall health.
BRUSHING TOO HARD: Harder isn’t better when it comes to brushing. In fact, if you brush your teeth too hard, you could be causing damage to your mouth, specifically, your gums. When you brush your teeth too hard, your gums will begin to recede up and away from your teeth. This leaves sensitive parts of the tooth exposed, and it can also make you more susceptible to gum infections. This problem is compounded when you’re brushing too hard with an old toothbrush, this can cause damage to tooth structure and enamel, literally wearing your teeth away and making them susceptible to damage and cavities. Brushing too hard not only contributes to tooth enamel being stripped away, it also doesn’t clean teeth effectively. When you brush hard, you usually have less control over where your brush is going, meaning you’ll clean the outside of each tooth quickly, but you won’t get into the spaces between teeth.
IGNORING PAIN: Mouth pain is a sign that something’s wrong in your mouth, and that should never be ignored. While some pain can be easily soothed at home with oil pulling or painkillers, most mouth pain requires a visit to your dentist. Some pain can be caused by an infection or abscess, which can be quite serious if not treated. Other tooth pain can come from grinding or clenching your teeth, which should prompt your dentist to screen you for sleep apnea or another sleep breathing disorder. Other pain, such as increased sensitivity to food temperatures, pressure sensitivity, or general dull aches in your teeth and jaw can mean that your teeth themselves have been damaged, and to fix this, you’ll definitely need the help of a dentist. The reason not to wait and see is simple: once the damage is done to a tooth, it never gets better. Yes, teeth do heal themselves, but the pain is an indicator that you’re past the point of the tooth healing itself and waiting only leads to further damage. The sooner you make an appointment, the smaller the problem will be and the easier it will be to fix.
BRUSHING AT THE WRONG TIMES: You were always told to brush after every meal, right? Well, the truth is it’s a bit more complicated than that. While certain foods and drinks—especially ones high in refined carbohydrates—spur the growth of bacteria in your mouth in as little as 20 minutes, requiring immediate brushing afterward, if you brush after other foods, especially acidic ones, you might be doing more damage than good. Brushing your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods can damage tooth enamel. Acidic foods weaken tooth enamel for about 30 minutes after eating, so brushing up to 30 minutes after meals will actually strip away the enamel in its weakened state, leading to an increased susceptibility to cavities. Instead of brushing after eating acidic foods, swish with water or chew gum to neutralize acid in the mouth. Once 30 minutes have passed, you’re free to brush.
FEAR OF VISITING THE DENTIST: Going to the dentist shouldn’t be painful or anxiety-inducing at all…if you’ve chosen the right practitioner, that is. Finding a shame-free dentist is one of the best investments you can make not just in your dental health, but your overall health as well since dental health impacts virtually every other system in the body. The right dentist will take the time to explain every procedure, put you in the driver’s seat, and will put you at ease.