Do you desire beautiful, healthy teeth? With proper oral hygiene habits, it’s possible to keep your teeth and gums in good health. Unfortunately, many people unknowingly harm their teeth without realizing it. The following are some of the most common oral hygiene mistakes you should avoid if you want to maintain a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth.

Mistake #1: You are using the wrong toothbrush
Most dental professionals recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush for cleaning teeth safely and effectively. Hard-bristled brushes can cause excessive wear of enamel and damage teeth over time. The head of the toothbrush should fit comfortably in your mouth, allowing you to easily clean all areas. Don’t forget to change your brush every three to four months, or when the bristles start to wear, to maintain effective brushing.

Mistake #2: You don’t spend enough time brushing your teeth
According to the American Dental Association, you should spend a full two minutes brushing your teeth every time. Brushing your teeth, gums and tongue thoroughly helps remove food and bacteria that can lead to plaque, cavities and bad breath. Similarly, avoid brushing too quickly or vigorously as this can damage your tooth enamel and cause gums to recede.  

Mistake #3: You neglect warning signs
Bleeding gums, dry mouth, bad breath and persistent sores or lumps are all potential red flags that indicate a problem in your mouth. Whenever you notice something unusual with your teeth or gums, let your dentist know right away. Studies show a strong connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Periodontal disease, for example, may increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and preterm childbirth.

Mistake #4: You aren’t flossing
Regular brushing is essential, but don’t forget to floss. Daily flossing helps remove harmful bacteria that gets trapped between the teeth and gums where your toothbrush cannot reach. Gently glide the strand of floss around each tooth and down to the gum line to reduce the risk of gum disease.

Mistake #5: Skipping routine dental appointments
Don’t forget to visit your dentist! A good at-home routine paired with routine checkups with your dentist is the best way to keep teeth and gums healthy. During your twice-yearly appointment you will receive a professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup that cause cavities. Your dentist can also detect any minor problems in their earliest stages before they become serious issues.

Don’t be discouraged by a few oral hygiene slip-ups. Talk to your dentist if you have questions or concerns about your current dental hygiene routine. Taking the time to properly care for your teeth (and gums) now will ensure that they look and feel their best for many years.

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